2012 Art & Law Residents



David Birkin studied Anthropology at Oxford University and received a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL to take his MA. His work is concerned with visual representations of loss and the legal and ideological frameworks that underpin war. His series Embedded focuses on images of conflict that have been the subject of censorship or authorship disputes, while Thirty Shades of Red involved disrupting the encoding process of digital photography by substituting color values for identification numbers from the Iraqi civilian casualty database.  For Unknown Soldier, Birkin invited an anonymous veteran of the war in Afghanistan to take private confession in front of a camera, while the photograph’s exposure was determined by the length of time the soldier chose to speak. Alongside his studio practice, Birkin maintains a critical writing practice that examines issues related to ethics and aesthetics. He was awarded a bursary by the UK National Media Museum in 2009, and in 2010 won the Sovereign European Art Prize. His work has featured in exhibitions at the Barbican, the Courtauld Institute, Saatchi Gallery, Paradise Row, London and the Solyanka State Gallery, Moscow. He has performed in films by Nathaniel Mellors for the ICA, the 2011 Venice Biennale and the British Art Show at the Hayward Gallery, and is co-founder of the Speakers’ Society: a non-profit forum for debate relating to contemporary art and politics. He lives and works in New York and London.

John Hawke’s work began in on-site landscape painting practice. The performative nature of the artist in public space, and the inability of an optical approach in representing the landscape, developed over years into an intention to understand the landscape conceptually as a snarled network of vectors of interest, with the artist having an interesting capability to rupture those existing conditions. Using the principle of productive confusion developed through a collaborative platform entitled Orange Work, he has made architecture and sign interventions in public space for the past seven years. He tries to make work that inhabits a role of centrality, forcing the viewer to come to terms with the valence jumping nature of the work (official/fraudulent/joke/mistake) so that one is folded back upon one’s assumptions.
He studied classics in college, and went to Pratt for graduate school in 2002 (writing an art history Master’s thesis on Robert Smithson’s anti-environmentalism). He participated in the Whitney Independent study program in 2006, and has exhibited, presented and been reviewed widely.

Carol R. Irving
is an artist who lives and works in New York City. Since 1991, her work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad. During the past four years, she has been employed as an adjunct Professor in the Art, Design History and Theory Department and  Art, Media and Technology Department at Parsons The New School. Before that Irving taught at other universities and as a teaching assistant at Yale University where she received her graduate degree from the Sculpture Department in the School of Art. Irving received an undergraduate degree with Honors from Brown University’s Department of Visual Art in 1989. In addition to her practice as an artist, Irving has edited artist’s catalogues, written reviews and worked with non-fiction authors to complete their manuscripts. In 1997, Irving was awarded a travel grant from Yale University and lived in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for three years. Irving was born in Wilmington, Delaware.

Jenn Kahn
is a sculptor exploring the complicated space in the decorative and fragile. Figurines are fantastically loaded objects: begging to be sweetly admired while conversely existing as distorted personifications of femininity. Fragile, decorative, subservient, and coy… they satisfy an artificial purpose that is hard to justify. Taunting with visual duality, Jenn Kahn’s work investigates the super precious object and revealing its critical substance. Recent achievements include: the  2011 Visiting Artist Fellowship at Urban Glass as well as the Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust.  Her work has been featured w/New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) at the New Museum's Festival of Ideas, Our Goods w/Creative Time, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Anderson Ranch Ranch Arts Center. This fall, she will be in residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space on Governor's Island. Jenn Kahn completed her MFA at the University of Florida. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

John Chi-Yun Lee is a Brooklyn based artist. Born in Taiwan, Lee moved to the United States some time after birth. After getting his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, he attended and graduated from Parsons The New School for Design with an MFA in Fine Arts. Through black and white images, stick figures, and text he hopes to create a photo realistic visual world in two dimensions.

Nathan Manuel
is a multidisciplinary visual artist whose work focuses on Americana and the way patriotic objects and ideas are manufactured, distributed and used. Highlights of his work include a karaoke installation, sign language videos, tourist photographs, and furniture centric sculptures. His work has recently been seen in Plus One at Perry Rubenstein Gallery an exhibition curated by Dan Cameron and in A History of Repeated Injuries and Usurpations at Vox Populi gallery in Philadelphia. Nathan received a MFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York City, 2010 and a MAT in Art Education from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC, 2008. He has been awarded the Scholars Grant from the Cosmos Club, the Daniel Ditondo Award in Arts Education from the Ditondo Foundation and two Young Artist Program grants from the DC Commission of Arts and Humanities. Nathan now lives in Brooklyn and works from his studio at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in midtown Manhattan.

Luis Nieto Dickens
is an artist and designer originally from the Mexico-U.S. Border Region. He studied Graphic Design and Printmaking at The University of Texas at El Paso. His work deals with consumerism and mass production. He is interested in establishing a connection between creation and destruction, mass production and waste systems, and the overlap of social classes. Geography, industrialization, conflict and desire are key words in his work. Luis has shown his work in numerous venues in the West-Texas region, including Marfa, TX, El Paso, TX, Dallas, TX and Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He lives and works in New York.

Diana Shpungin
 is a Brooklyn based artist that works with drawing, sculpture, installation, animation, video & sound. She was born in Latvia’s seaside capital of Riga and received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Her working methodology references ideas surrounding memory formation, mortality, fate and locational identity. Combining a minimalist conceptual aesthetic with both highly personal subject matter and fanatical seriality, her process seeks out a balance between form and content, superstition and logic, science and the sentimental and the poetic and the rational. Viewing herself as an unconventional apprentice, an obsessive language of materials and techniques has been developed based on her late surgeon fathers’ methods both in medicine and in domestic life. Shpungin’s work has been exhibited in international venues that include: Fieldgate Gallery, London; Futura Center for Contemporary Art, Prague: Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo; Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Sculpture Center, New York; Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Marella Arte Contemporenea, Milan; and Galerie Zurcher, Paris. Shpungin was recently cited in the introduction of Jerry Saltz latest book "Seeing out Louder" and her work has been reviewed in publications such as New York Magazine, Artforum, Flash Art, Art in America, Art Papers, The Village Voice, The New York Times, NY Arts Magazine, Timeout New York, Zing Magazine, Bloomberg, Timeout London, Connaissance des Arts and Le Monde among others. Shpungin has been awarded residencies with The MacDowell Colony, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Bronx Museum AIM Program and Islip Carriage House. Her work is included in numerous collections throughout the United States and Europe.

Alex Snukal
is an artist, musician, and writer who lives and works in Toronto. Much of his work is concerned with repetition and duration in relation to labour and performance, using the eight-hour work day as the starting point for a series of sound performances/installations. Another series of works used the permissive atmosphere surrounding public art presentations to examine the ambiguity of contemporary art in relation to larger legal and economic structures. His work has been exhibited at venues in Toronto and across Canada, including Images Festival, Toronto, and O.K.Quoi?! Festival, Sackville, New Brunswick. His writing has appeared in C Magazine, Locus Suspectus, and at venues such as Gallery TPW, in Toronto. He is the Programming Coordinator at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, a new media artist-run gallery and production centre in Toronto.

Sophia Wallace
(Van Lier Fellow, 2012) (b. 1978 Seattle, lives Brooklyn) is an artist working in conceptual photography and video. Exhibitions include: KUNSTHALLE Wien Contemporary Museum in Vienna, Colgate University’s Clifford Gallery, MiLK Gallery, TASCHEN Gallery, Aperture Gallery, The Assembly Room in London, Sasha Wolf Gallery, Kopeikin Gallery, Carnegie Art Museum and the Australian Centre of Photography among others. Her solo exhibition 'The New Masculine' was at Leslie-Lohman Gallery in New York, 2010. Awards include PDN’s Curator Award, Critic's Pick by the Griffin Museum of Photography, American Photography AP-25, and ARTslant's Showcase Award. Notable publications include No Fashion Please! a 160 page hardcover catalog by KUNSTHALLE wien Museum and Identities Now, a book of Contemporary portraiture by Peter Hay Halbert Fine Art. Wallace received her Bachelors degree in Government with a Minor in African American Studies from Smith College in 2000. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Photography from New York University and The International Center of Photography in 2005. Wallace often lectures at Universities, Colleges and Photography Industry events.

James N. Kienitz Wilkins
(Van Lier Fellow, 2012) makes feature and short length films and videos. He's interested in narrative itself as an experimental medium; the ideological yet highly personal substrate of any time-based construction despite commercial distinctions.
He has received grants and support from the Jerome Foundation, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York State Council on the Arts, Experimental Television Center, Puffin Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. He is a graduate of the Cooper Union School of Art in Manhattan.



Jennifer Dean
attained her B.A. in Theatre from University of California Los Angeles and has done graduate work in Performance Studies at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.  In San Francisco she founded La Vache Enragée Productions – a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation. As Artistic Director she produced several plays and an annual multi-media event of short plays and silent short films accompanied by live originally composed music (which received the Stanley S. Langendorf Foundation Grant). As an actor she has performed with various theatre companies and won a Dean Goodman award for her performance as Carol in Bare Bones Theater's production of David Mamet’s Oleanna. She has worked on various independent films, webseries, television shows, commercials, and industrials. Currently matriculated at City University of New York in their MA in Liberal Studies program with a Film Studies emphasis she is working on her thesis, The Second Sex and the Seventh Art: Women Directors in Film (, a documentary exploring the contributions and challenges faced by female filmmakers. Despite many advances in opportunities available to women directing continues to be a male-dominated profession. Nonetheless, there are women who defy the odds and take on the role of director in increasing numbers, often by creating their own opportunities. The burgeoning, smaller budget, independent film market in the 1980s and 1990s presented an opportunity for independent filmmakers to gain a foothold in the industry. Today cheaper digital equipment and the internet generate more opportunities. Her documentary will explore how the expanded platforms for distribution affect the opportunities available for female filmmakers and will celebrate the women who have taken up the camera and decided to make women not just objects but subjects of their own stories.



Lauren van Haaften-Schick
is a curator, artist and writer based in New York. She recently spent fall 2011 in The Netherlands to participate in the workshop “Curating in the Gallery Field” at de Appel arts Centre (Amsterdam), and to study the Dutch system of funding for the arts and the impact of the current budget cuts on individuals, institutions and the art market. In 2010 – 2011 Lauren contributed to numerous projects concerning art and economics including the e-flux Time/Store (New York, NY), "Alternative Art Economies" at Trade School (New York, NY) and Momenta Art (Brooklyn, NY). Lauren also led the workshop “Market, Alternative” at Trade School, which focused on legal resources for artists and alternative business models for galleries. Recent curatorial projects include "Spirit of the Signal" at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery (New York, NY), "Get on the Block" at Camel Art Space and "Matinee" at St. Cecilia's Gallery (Brooklyn, NY). Forthcoming projects include the exhibition and catalog "Cancelled" at the Center for Book Arts in New York, and a video compilation for the series “This screening will not be monetized” at Vox Populi in Philadelphia, PA. She has been the founding director of two arts venues, Gallery TK in Northampton, MA from 2004-2006, and AHN|VHS gallery and bookstore in Philadelphia from 2009-2010. Lauren has held professional positions at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery and BravinLee programs in New York, and has assisted in not-for-profit development at Philagrafika in Philadelphia. Lauren received a BA in Art History and Studio Art from Hampshire College in 2006.

Joanna Montoya
has coordinated numerous exhibitions at The Jewish Museum including Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) (2011), Houdini: Art and Magic (2010), and Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism (2010). Ms. Montoya co-curated Art, Image, and Warhol Connections (2008) from The Jewish Museum’s permanent collection and organized The Sound of Light by Julianne Swartz (2008).  In addition to working on exhibitions, she manages the artist submission program. Ms. Montoya received her M.A. in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and earned a B.A. in Art History and Political Science from the University of Washington.


The Art & Law Residency is an educational program of
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts