Valencia, CA, April 2008--Known for a body of performance-based work praised as "serious slapstick," Martin Kersels has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2008. Kersels is a School of Art faculty member and co-director of the Program in Art at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
"In his sculptures, photographs, videos and installations," wrote Michael Duncan in Art in America, "...Kersels puts a conceptual spin on the rich precedents of masterful slapstick performers such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin employing his own large-scale physique as a kind of metaphor for the incongruities and indelicacies of physical existence."
The Los Angeles-based artist has had solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Bern and Paris. His work has appeared in such group shows such as Departures: 11 Artists at the Getty, Young Americans 2 at the Saatchi Collection and the 1997 Whitney Biennial. He is represented in museum collections including those of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MOCA Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum and the Norton Family Foundation.
Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of stellar achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment. Kersels is one of 190 artists, scholars and scientists selected from a pool of almost 2,600 applicants and CalArts is one of 81 academic institutions represented by this year's Fellows.
Decisions on Fellowship recipients are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors and are approved by the Foundation's Board of Trustees, which includes six members who are themselves past Fellows of the Foundation. The Fellowships are awarded to professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability by producing a significant body of work in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and the creative arts. They are distributed by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, founded in 1925 by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim.
CalArts has a multidisciplinary approach to arts education through six schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater. CalArts encourages students to explore and recognize the complexity of the many aspects of the arts. The Institute is supported by a distinguished faculty of practicing artists and provides its BFA and MFA students with the hands-on training and exposure necessary for an artist's growth. CalArts was founded in 1961 and opened in 1969 as the first institution of higher learning in the United States specifically for students interested in the pursuit of degrees in all areas of visual and performing arts.