Raul de Nieves, The Musical Brain (2021), The High Line NYC

Raúl De Nieves
Spotlight Artist in Residence
Fall 2021


Raúl de Nieves is a multimedia artist, performer and musician whose wide-ranging practice investigates notions of beauty and transformation. De Nieves is known for his exuberant modes of self-expression that combine artisanal craftwork traditions learned during his childhood in Mexico and the queer, outsider traditions of artmaking absorbed while living in San Francisco. His work is often animated by the symbolic and performative languages associated with Catholic, Mexican and esoteric mythologies. Recent solo exhibitions include ICA Boston and the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland. Group shows include K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Swiss Institute, New York; New Orleans Museum of Art Museum of Art and Design, New York; the Zabludowicz Collection, London; the 2017 Whitney Biennial; and MoMA PS1’s 2015 Greater New York. De Nieves has performed at Documenta 14, Performa 13, MoMA PS1, ICA Philadelphia, The Watermill Center, The Kitchen and Artist’s Space, amongst others.


Raúl de Nieves was the inaugural Spotlight Artist in Residence in The California Studio. He was on campus from October 10 to October 20, 2021. During his time on campus, de Nieves conducted graduate students critiques, gave a public lecture and workshopped a collaborative performance with students. Graduate students launched his visit on Monday, October 11 with a potluck dinner in the Grad Studios. Students celebrated the midpoint of his residency on Friday, October 15 with an artist salon in the ceramics studio yard at Temporary Building 9. The salon celebrated Northern California's contribution to the evolution of psychedelic art. Graduate students provided art supplies and an edible still life of seasonal fruits and vegetables. De Nieves' lecture took place on Thursday, October 14, 2021 at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, and the residency concluded with a performance night in Wyatt Pavilion Theatre on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. The call for performance participants was open to the entire UC Davis student body, and the performance script was worked out over four rehearsal periods in the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre. Performers had access to the Department of Theatre and Dance's Costume Shop, as well as technical support from the Department of Theatre and Dance. Students oversaw set design and visuals.


Banner image: Raúl de Nieves. Stand Inside Your Love. Commissioned by The High Line, NYC. Courtesy of the artist.