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BIOGRAPHY

Vanessa German is a visual and performance artist based in Pittsburgh. Born in Wisconsin and having spent her formative years in Mid-City, Los Angeles; Vanessa is largely informed by her current community of Homewood, Pittsburgh. As a citizen artist, German explores the power of art and love as a transformative force in the dynamic cultural ecosystem of communities and neighborhoods. She is the founder of the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of Homewood. Her work is in private and public collections including the Everson Museum of Art, Figge Art Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The David C. Driskell Center, Snite Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College. German’s work has been exhibited widely, most recently at the Figge Art Museum, The Union for Contemporary Art, The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Flint Institute of Arts, Mattress Factory, Everson Museum of Art, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Studio Museum, Ringling Museum of Art and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Her current and upcoming solo exhibitions include Bates College Art Museum, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, and The David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland. Her work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, O Magazine, Sculpture Magazine and Essence Magazine. She is the recipient of the 2015 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, the 2017 Jacob Lawrence Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2018 United States Artist Grant, the 2018 Don Tyson Prize from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and most recently, the 2019 Governor’s award for Artist of the Year at Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania award.

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019
TRAMPOLINE: Resilience & Black Body & Soul, Fort Gansevoort, New York, NY
Miracles and Glory Abound, Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, ME
sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies., The Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE
Vanessa German: The Window Series 2019, Concept Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
this good love, James Barron Art, Kent, CT
Miracles and Glory Abound, Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA
$LANG: Short Language in Soul, GAVLAK, Los Angeles, CA
sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies., The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Miracles and Glory Abound, Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI

2018
running with freedom, Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH
The Incredibly True Sometimes Horrific Often Humorous Adventures of a Wacky Black Girl, Concept Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Things Are Not Always What They Seem: A Phenomenology of Black Girlhood, Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, IL
Defiant Show of Unity, Woodland Pattern Book Center, Milwaukee, WI
sometimes.we.cannot.be.with.our.bodies., Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA

2017
Emanation, Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Millville, NJ

2016
de.structive dis.tillation, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
i am armed. i am an army., Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY
i come to do a violence to the lie, MATRIX 174, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Introspective: Vanessa German, The August Wilson African American Culture Center, Pittsburgh, PA

2015
The Ordinary Sacred, Concept Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Bitter Root, Northcutt Stelle Gallery, Montana State University Billings, Billings, MT
Bitter Root, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT

2014
Citizen Artist, Concept Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Bitter Root, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, Missoula, MT

2013
Homewood, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, New York, NY

2012
Emerging Artist of the Year, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

2011
Are You A Good Woman, Gallerie Chiz, Pittsburgh, PA
HOME: HOMEWOOD Artist Residency, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

2010
Tar Baby, Mendelson Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Tar Baby Jane and Doo-Wop: Everything Useful For Your Modern Household, 707 Penn Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

GROUP  EXHIBITIONS

2019
Citizen, Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery, John Jay College, New York, NY
Radical Love, Ford Foundation Gallery, New York, NY
People, Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, CA
This Stillness, Intuit: Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago, IL
Perilous Bodies, Ford Foundation Gallery, New York, NY
An Essential Presence: Highlights from the Petrucci Family Collection of African American Art, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Give Me Body!: Femme Re-Divined, MoCADA, Brooklyn, NY
A Pittsburgh Anthology, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

2018
ritual & resilience, Elizabeth Stone Harper Gallery, Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC
You Tell Me, Foley Gallery, New York, NY
A House is Not a Home, Emily Davis Gallery, University of Akron, OH
SEED, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY
Piecework, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY
Reclamation! Pan-African Works from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA

2017
Female\Feminist/2017, Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Old Lyme, CT
Supernature, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY
Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions, Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

2016
AFRICA FORECAST: Fashioning Contemporary Life, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Platform, Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, KS
Storytelling: The Georgia Review’s 70th Anniversary Art Retrospective, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Tomorrow Never Happens, Samek Art Museum, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
Conjurers: Artists Imbue the Ordinary, Visual Arts Center of Richmond, VA
State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, Jepson Center for the Arts,Savannah, GA

2015
Black: Color, Material, Concept, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Re:Purposed, Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
UNLOADED, Space, Pittsburgh, PA
Vices Peculiar to these Eclectics: Contemporary Collage, Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Art Gallery, St John’s University, Queens, NY
Performing Blackness: Performing Whiteness, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA
Some Assembly Required, Hill Gallery, Birmingham, MI

2014
State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR
Pittsburgh Biennial, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh PA
SOFA: Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design, Chicago, IL
Cabinets of Wonder, Children’s Museum of Art, New York, NY
Afrotechtopia, Samek Art Museum, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

2013
Remix: Selections from the International Collage Center, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY

2012
To Be A Lady: Forty-five Women in the Arts, curated by Jason Andrew, 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery, New York, NY
Remix: Selections from the International Collage Center, The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO
The Art of Storytelling: Lies, Enchantment, Humor & Truth, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
Ill Perceived, Curated by Kristin Rogers, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
African American Art 1950-Present, Smithsonian Institution and David C. Driskell Center, College Park, MD

2011
Material Witness, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY

2010
Responding, Future Tenant Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2010, Pennsylvania State Museum, Harrisburg, PA
Art For Life, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow, I.P. Stanback Museum, Orangeburg, SC

2009
Visionary Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA
Associate Artists of Pittsburgh 99th Annual Exhibition, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

2008
Black Clay in PA: A Dialogue in Flux, August Wilson African American Cultural Center, Pittsburgh, PA

2007
Objectification, Gallerie Chiz, Pittsburgh, PA

2005
She Said: Words by Women, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA

FELLOWSHIPS, AWARDS, AND GRANTS

Center for Victims of Violence and Crime Fellow
Community Leadership Initiative Fellow
Creative Capital Flight School Fellow
Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania
Don Tyson Prize from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Founding member August Wilson Center Theater Ensemble
Governor’s Awards for the Arts, Artist of the Year
Heinz Endowments
Inaugural August Wilson Center Fellow
Inaugural Green For All Fellow
Jacob Lawrence Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters
Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant
National Organization for Blacks in Law Enforcement Community Leadership Award
Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, Creative Development Grant
Ronald H Brown Leadership Award for Community Leadership, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh
Sprout Fund
United States Artist Grant
Women and Girls Foundation Award

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Bates College Art Museum, Lewiston, ME
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AR
David C. Driskell Center, Collage Park, MD
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI
Franciscan University, Steubenville, OH
Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA
Girls Club Collection, Fort Lauderdale, FL
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
I.P. Stanback Museum, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Portland State University, Portland,
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO
The Progressive Art Collection, Cleveland, OH
Snite Museum of Art, Notre Dame, IN
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, NY

PERFORMANCES

2014
Creative Summit, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, ARB.U.S. 9, Bricolage Theater, Pittsburgh, PA

2013
Homewood, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY

2011
Pittsburgh Biennale Gertrude’s/Lot, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Too Shallow for Diving: the 21st Century is Treading Water, American Jewish Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Material Witness, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY

2010
TED x MIT, Cambridge, MA
Reading on Mars: American Shorts Reading Series, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

2009
Black Clay, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (Feature performance), Erie, CO
Testify, Multiple venues (Feature performance)
Women in Politics, Chatham College (Feature Guest Performer), Pittsburgh, PA

2008
SNAP!, Science, Nature, Art and People Conference(Feature performance), Boulder, CO
Testify, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts & PFM Biennale, Pittsburg, PA
Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship International Conference (Keynote Poem and performance), Boston, MA

2007
Pittsburgh International First Voice Festival, August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, PA
PopTech!, Camden, Maine

2005
She Said: Words by Women, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA

Selected Bibliography 

2020
"Editors’ Picks: 17 Events for Your Art Calendar This Week, From NADA’s Now-Online Chicago Fair to a Feminist Art Parade", Artnet, September 28. 
"A CONVERSATION: Vanessa German", Yard Concept, Spring 2020. 
Snowden, Jordan. "vanessa german and Deesha Philyaw assemble Black women of all ages and experiences to release TENDER a literary anthology & book of spells: evidence", Pittsburgh City Paper, February 26. 
Douglas, Sarah. "ADAA Art Show Has Highest-Ever Number of Solo Booths by Women Artists", Artnews, February 25. 
Ollman, ​Leah. "8 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend", The New York Times, January 29. 
"Art in Focus: Vanessa German A liberating vision at Rockefeller Center", At Rockefeller Center, January 14. 

2019
"Going, going, gone: 2019 in review", Oregon Artswatch, December 31.
Thomas, Alexandra M. "#BlackGirlMagic Takes Form In Vanessa German’s Sculptures", Hyperallergic, December 11. 
Clavarino, ​Elena. "Vanessa German: Trampoline—Resilience & Black Body & Soul", AIR, December 11. 
Healis, Jahunyia. "Artist Vanessa German Celebrates Black Resilience in Her Mixed Media ‘Power Figures’", Observer, December 9. 
Orlov, ​Piotr. "THE MAGICAL, CITIZEN ART OF VANESSA GERMAN", Afropunk, December 06. 
"Editors’ Picks 15 Things Not to Miss in New York’s Art World This Week Here's what's going on in the city this week.", Artnet,  December 2. 
Steinhauer, ​Jillian. "New York Galleries: What to See Right Now", The New York Times, November 27.
"TRAMPOLINE: Resilience & Black Body & Soul", State of The Arts, November 19. 
Cohen, ​Alina and Lesser, Casey. "7 Must-See Shows in New York Right Now", Artsy, November 15. 
Khan, ​Baseera. "What Does 'Radical Love' Mean To You?", Garage Magazine, July 02. 
"There Is Life and Death in the Power of the Tongue: Vanessa German Interviewed by Jessica Lanay", Bomb, April 18.
Bullock, Maggie. "The Future of Work: The 'Citizen Artist' Bringing Hope to Pittsburgh’s Homewood", Shondaland April 17. 
Ollman, ​Leah. "Review: Black, female and strong: Vanessa German’s sculptures voice their power without sound", Los Angeles Times, April 13. 
Zellen, Jody. "Vanessa German: ‘$lang: Short Language in Soul’", Art Now LA, March 22.
"The Daily Progress staff reports", The Daily Progress, February 21. 
Lorne, ​Raennah. "Restorative justice: Vanessa German’s art celebrates black lives", C-Ville, February 20. 
Kucharski, ​Eve. "‘Miracles and Glory Abound’ at the Flint Institute of Arts", Pride Source, February 6. 
Ford, ​Harold C. "“Miracles and Glory Abound”: Artwork of Vanessa German at FIA through April 20", East Village Magazine, January 30. 

2018
"Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces Vanessa German as the recipient of the 2018 Don Tyson Prize", Artdaily, December 18.
Cascone, Sarah. "Artist Vanessa German Needed Money to Repair Her Steps in Pittsburgh. Then She Won $200,000 From the Crystal Bridges Museum", Artnet, December 18. 
Selvin, ​Claire. "Vanessa German Wins $200,000 Don Tyson Prize", ARTnews, December 18.
"VANESSA GERMAN WINS $200,000 DON TYSON PRIZE", ARTFORUM, December 18. 
Valentine, ​Victoria L. "Pittsburgh Artist Vanessa German Wins $200,000 Don Tyson Prize", Culture Type, December 18. 
O’Driscoll, ​Bill. "Local Artist Vanessa German Wins Big National Prize", NPR, December 18.
Norman, ​Tony. "Vanessa German marries art, activism", Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 16. 

2017
Mellor, ​Carl. "Found Objects Create Fine Artworks At Everson", Syracuse Newtimes, April 19.

2016
Stern, ​Melissa. "An Army of Female Power Figures Stands Against Injustice", Hyperallergic, November 17.
Dunne,​ Susan. "Wadsworth Atheneum Exhibit Confronts Violence Against African-Americans", Hartford Courant, June 14. 
Stafford Davis, ​Jessica. "10 Female Artists of Color on the Rise", The Root, March 22. 

2015
Davis, ​Marcia. "Six years after the fire, Peggy Cooper Cafritz has a new home and collection", The Washington Post, September 24.

2013
Nelson Jones, Diana. "Fighting the world view that "nobody cares", Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 31.
Nelson Jones, Diana. "Artist Vanessa German displays her love for Homewood in NYC", Pittsburgh Post Gazette, November 4.

2012
Micchelli, Thomas. "City of Women", Hyperallergic, October 12. 

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