Ken Lum, 2018 Pew Fellow. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Ken Lum, I can't believe I'm in Paris, 1995, enameled aluminum with archival print. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Ken Lum, Tragic Philadelphians, installation view at Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco. Photo courtesy of the artist and Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.
“What is at stake in my work is building an artistic language that can be a model for a global artist…I like to think that through my practices I am theorizing many aspects of the world.”
Visual artist Ken Lum creates conceptual and representational work in a number of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography, driven by an interest in the formation of individual and societal identities and, he says, “the activation and even production of public space or consciousness through art.” His body of work includes sculptures made from furniture, “language paintings” that depict invented words, and performances in public spaces. His work has been included in major exhibitions such as the São Paulo Biennial, Documenta 11, the Whitney Biennial, and the Venice Biennale, among others. Lum also maintains prolific curatorial and writing practices, with projects and collaborations in West Africa, China, the Middle East, Europe, and Canada. He co-conceived and co-curated the Center-supported Monument Lab: A Citywide Public Art and History Exhibition, presented by Mural Arts Philadelphia in 2016. Lum is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 2017 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest honors. A longtime professor, he is chair of fine arts at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.