Read the curator’s statement.

About Michelle Grabner

Michelle Grabner works in variety of mediums including drawing, painting, video and sculpture. Incorporating writing, curating and teaching with a studio practice grounded in process and productivity, she has created a multi-faceted and dynamic career. As David Norr writes in the introduction to her exhibition at MoCA, Cleveland, “All of Grabner’s activities are driven by distinctive values and ideas: working outside of dominant systems, working tirelessly, working across platforms and towards community.” These varied interests led Grabner to be chosen as co-curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art along with Anthony Elms and Stuart Comer.

Grabner holds an MA in Art History and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University. She joined the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996, and became Chair of its prestigious Painting and Drawing department in the fall of 2009. From 2012-2014, she was a senior critic at Yale University in the Department of Painting and Printmaking. Her writing has been published in Artforum, Modern Painters, Frieze, Art Press, and Art-Agenda, among others.

As a community-maker, Grabner runs The Suburban and The Poor Farm with her husband, artist Brad Killam. These exhibition spaces in Little Wolf, Wisconsin and Oak Park, Illinois embody new models for facilitating and presenting artist’s projects.

As an artist, I Work From Home, Grabner’s first comprehensive solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland was organized by David Norr and opened in October of 2013. Grabner currently has a solo exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art curated by Tricia Paik on display through November. Solo exhibitions of her work have also been held at INOVA, The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Ulrich Museum, Wichita; and University Galleries, Illinois State University.

As a curator, Grabner has been increasingly motivated by localism and the extant narratives therein–how it indicates or defies provincialism, how it relates to or helps shape the broader contemporary scene and how “decentralization” is changing the landscape of art-making nationally.

“The questions shaping the discourse addressing place and proximity are the most compelling questions emerging from contemporary art today,” says Grabner. “Despite their contentiousness, I believe biennials remain the perfect organizing conceit to bring these issues to the fore. I am honored to be the curatorial steward for the Portland2016 Biennial, and will look to give prominence to the ideas of localism by gathering a collection of strong and engaging artwork from studios throughout the state of Oregon.” (Full statement available here.)