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Learn more about Warsaw-based artist Monika Sosnowska—among the most important young artists emerging from Eastern Europe today—and her exhibition Habitat in this lecture on art and Polish cultural history given by Senior Curator Heather Pesanti.
Prior to the exhibition, Pesanti worked with the artist for two years to commission new sculptures and installations for the Jones Center, several of them site-specific to the building. Pesanti will share a slide lecture about her research in Warsaw, Kraków, and Łódź, and articulate how the country’s history, art community, and architecture have influenced Sosnowska’s life and sculptures.
Threaded through the lecture will be a personal narrative of the ways in which Pesanti’s travel there enriched understanding of her family history and mother’s Polish heritage.
As Senior Curator of The Contemporary Austin, Heather Pesanti has organized monographic exhibitions of the artists Marianne Vitale, Robert Therrien, and Monika Sosnowska, with forthcoming projects by John Bock and Wangechi Mutu. In 2015, she organized the museum’s largest exhibition to date, Strange Pilgrims, a fourteen-artist, thematic exhibition on experiential art that engaged three venues and included a catalogue in conjunction with the University of Texas Press.
In 2014, Pesanti was paired with the artist and critic Robert Storr as joint visiting critics in the Viewpoint speaker series at The University of Texas at Austin. Pesanti has also been guest curator for Artpace’s International Artist-in-Residence program in San Antonio, Texas, in 2011, and Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 2014. Prior to Austin, Pesanti lived in Buffalo, New York, where she was Curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for five years. During her tenure, she organized the historic exhibition Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-garde in the 1970s, a large-scale survey of Buffalo’s dynamic arts scene in the 1970s (2012). Additional projects included Robert Therrien (2013), DECADE: Contemporary Collecting: 2002–2012 (2012; co-curated), Surveyor (2011), Beyond/In Western New York: Alternating Currents (2010; co-curated), Bad Habits (2009), and a series of Artists in Depth exhibitions from the collection. She was also adjunct professor in the Visual Studies Department at the University at Buffalo.
Pesanti earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and holds graduate degrees from the University of Oxford, England, and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.