Alex Brown Foundation Announces 2023 Artist Residencies

The Alex Brown Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa, today announced the six artists participating in its 2023 residency program. David Dixon, Ben DuVall, Shir Ende, Fanxi Sun, Jessica Walker, and Leonard Yang, will each occupy Brown’s former studio in the nonprofit Mainframe Studios, a refurbished 1970s telecom building near downtown Des Moines. The residencies are flexible varying in length from four weeks to one year, with participants receiving lodging, airfare, and a $1,000 monthly stipend.

Dixon, who runs the gallery Cathouse FUNeral / Proper in Brooklyn, will during the course of his residency create silk-screened plaster paintings in Brown’s studio space, while a painting by Brown hangs in Cathouse Proper, where it will be attended during open hours by a rotating cast of Brown’s friends and admirers of his work. DuVall, a Brooklyn-based graphic artist concerned with the play and politics of language, will undertake a series of drawings and continue a research project. The remaining four participants have not yet shared their plans. Ende, who lives in Chicago, explores movement and addresses problems surrounding the scale of architecture through drawing, print, performance and video. Sun, a native of Zhejiang, China, produces what she characterizes as “experimental narratives” using film, photography, and sound; while Walker, who divides her time between New York and London, describes herself as “working sculpturally with a spectrum of materials, including sound, objects, image, and ephemeral materials to initiate poetic installations.” The Singapore-based Yang, a painter, combines aerial and linear perspectives with romantic hues to embody contemporary shifts in social and natural landscapes.

The residency program was established last year in honor of Brown (1966–2019), a Des Moines native who established his career as a painter and as a guitarist in hardcore bands Gorilla Biscuits, Side by Side, and Project X in New York before returning to his hometown to work there over the course of two decades. The residency welcomes artists working across all forms of media and in various stages of their careers. Participants are not required to produce work, but only to experience “the working conditions Brown found in Des Moines—the ability to make the work you want to make, free from the daily influence of being immersed in a major metropolitan scene but without the isolation of a rural residency, in an exceptional studio environment and a relaxed and pleasant living environment,” according to a foundation press release.


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