NB: All orphan works used in this project have been sourced from the New York Public Library

Clarinda Mac Low started out working in dance in the late 1980s and now works in performance, installation and “social practice,” creating participatory events of all types. Her works have appeared at P.S. 122, the Kitchen, X-Initiative, and many other places and spaces around New York City and elsewhere in the world (including a park in Siberia, an abandoned church in Braddock, PA, and the Manifesta Biennial in Spain). Recent work includes “The Year of Dance,” a performed ethnography of the NYC dance world; TRYST, performance interventions into everyday life; and “Cyborg Nation,” public conversational performances about technology and the nature of intimacy. She has participated in many different residencies, including as a MacDowell Fellow (2000), a DTW ARM Fellow (2004-2005), through the Society for Cultural Exchange in Pittsburgh and as a guest at Yaddo and Mount Tremper Arts (2012). She has received several grants and awards for her work, including a BAX Award in 2004, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant in 2007, and a 2010 Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art grant. Mac Low is Executive Director of Culture Push, a cross-disciplinary organization encouraging hands-on participation and strong hybrid ideas.

Erica Bailey is an Ohio-born multimedia artist holding a BFA in sculpture from The Ohio State University and an MFA in three-dimensional media from the University of Cincinnati. She has created many large-scale installation projects, including The House that was Haunted Before It was Built (2007) at the Aronoff Center of the University of Cincinnati and Telescoping House (2010) for the UnMuseum of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center. Since moving to New York in 2012, she has been a resident artist at the NARS Foundation in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and is currently participating in the Bronx Museum of the Arts Artist in the Marketplace program. Her practice is rooted in installation and sculpture but includes video, digital photography, and digital photo collage. Referencing vernacular architecture as an extension, both physical and psychological, of human subjectivity, her work reflects phenomena common to many: alienation, anxiety, senselessness, longing, and impermanence.

Free the Orphans is conceived by Clarinda Mac Low in fulfillment of an MFA Thesis in Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice at the City College of New York. The final project was created in collaboration with Erica Bailey, Thomas Lannon, and several foster parents (including perhaps you), in consultation with Mark Addison Smith (book-maker extraordinaire) and the fabulous Thesis Committee of Maureen Connor, Joy Garnett, Hajoe Moderegger, Laurel Ptak, and Annette Weintraub, with generous gifts of time and expertise from Alfred Steiner, Nate Harrison, Liza Harrell-Edge, Randy Martin, Amy Lucker, John Wiszniewski and many more! Summary exhibition design by Mac Low in consultation with Bailey, Roger Gaitan, and Andrey Radovski. Serious thanks are due to Bracken, Alice, and Clea Hendricks for hosting Mac Low in Washington, D.C. during the Orphan Works Roundtables in March 2014, to Laura Schneider for crucial technical advice, and to Peter Stankiewicz for everything else.

Free the Orphans was made possible by the excellent resources at the New York Public Library, and by donations from Materials for the Arts/Department of Cultural Affairs/Department of Sanitation, New York.


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