b. 1959, USA

Renée Green Biography

Through her research-driven, multimedia installations, Renée Green examines the complex layers of cultural institutions, collective memory, and histories. Green is also a prolific writer and has produced a range of essays, fiction, and reviews.

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Early Years

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Green received her BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Course at Harvard University, Massachusetts (both in 1981). She also attended the School of Visual Arts (1979–1980) and Parsons School of Design (1982 and 1984) in New York.

Since 2011, Green has been a professor at the Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) Program at the School of Architecture + Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Renée Green Artworks

In Renée Green's installations, diverse media encompassing film, sound, photography, sculpture, textiles, posters, and text are brought together to interrogate the connections between seemingly disparate historical events, effects of cultural institutions, and the web of subjective experience.

Culture and History

Ideas of cultural appropriation and the mobility of cultural forms circulate in Import/Export Funk Office (1992), a multimedia installation consisting of a shelving structure and videos. The shelf is effectively a library of objects from two personal collections: those of German author and cultural critic Diedrich Diederichsen, revolving around African American music and philosophy, and of Green, an African American artist then working in Cologne. In the videos, Green and Diederichsen discuss the circulation of African diasporic culture around the world, a topic that the critic had been working on within the context of Germany.

Mise-en-Scène: Commemorative Toile (1992–1993), first made in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia, explores the unlikely history of violence embedded in domestic spheres. In the room installation, Green employs fabric that combines the French toile—often featuring idyllic pastoral scenes with floral motifs—with scenes of enslavement and uprisings in the form of wallpaper and furniture upholstery. The work began from her research in Clisson, France, where she traced the origins of the commonplace fabric and its relationship with the histories of the transatlantic slave trade.


Green has also engaged with the possibility of reconceptualising art's relationship with art institutions. In the film Venue (1994), the artist frames the art gallery as a space for social activities, converting the Pat Hearn Gallery in New York into a rental space for various events, including a fashion show, concert, and short-term art exhibitions. That same year, Green founded Free Agent Media, also known as FAM, to publish and circulate her film-based and textual works as an alternative to the traditional production of art-related texts by museums and galleries.


Between 2016 and 2018, Green undertook a residency at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University, to create the 'Pacing' project, which involved revisiting her earlier works and exploring local histories and legacies of modernism. FAM Case (1994–2000) (2016), the first in the series of exhibitions revolving around Pacing, featured a selection of her works published by FAM.

Within Living Memory (2018), another solo exhibition in the project, examined the individual yet shared narratives of international figures active in the modern and postmodern periods. Films and other works on view stemmed from Le Corbusier, who designed the Carpenter Center, and Rudolph Schindler, a Viennese architect who immigrated to California in the 1910s, and considered the lives of intellectuals, artists, scientists, and activists including Muriel Rukeyser, Albert Einstein, and Paul Robeson.


Renée Green has exhibited internationally in both solo and group exhibitions.

Select solo exhibitions include Renée Green: Excerpts A.1, Bortolami Gallery, New York (2021); Inevitable Distances, KW Institute for Contemporary Art and daadgalerie, Berlin (2021); Prelude, Nagel Draxler Kabinett, Berlin (2019); New Media Series: Begin Again, Begin Again, St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri (2018); Facing, Prefix, Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto (2016); Begin Again, Begin Again, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House, Los Angeles (2015).

Select group exhibitions include 24 Signs of the Times, Mana Contemporary, Jersey City (2021); Global(e) Resistance, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Platforms: Collections and Commissions, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019); Il tessuto come arte: Antonio Ratti, imprenditore e mecenate, Palazzo Te e Fruttiere, Mantua (2017); Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2022

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