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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Artist; Associate Professor of Art, Hunter College, City University of New York

John P. Birkelund Fellow in the Humanities - Class of Fall 2023

A.K. Burns is an associate professor of art and the New Genres Area Head at Hunter College. Burns completed a BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA at Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College. Using video, installation, sculpture, drawing, and collaboration, Burns explores systems of value and the body as a contentious domain in which broader socio-political issues are negotiated. A frequent collaborator, Burns was a 2008 founding member of W.A.G.E (Working Artists in the Greater Economy)—an artists’ advocacy group. In 2010, Burns began a collaborative practice with partner Katherine Hubbard, producing performance installations, videos, and sculptures as well as staging The Poetry Parade…, a “thematic migrating feminist literary intervention,” at the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art. Together with artist A.L. Steiner, Burns created the 2010 work Community Action Center, a video re-imagining pornographic cinema for queer women, trans, and non-binary bodies. It has since been collected by MoMA and the Julia Stoschek Collection and hailed by the New York Times as one of “The 25 Works of Art That Define the Contemporary Age.” A 2021 Guggenheim fellow, Burns is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Art Purchase Program and the recipient of a 2018 New York State Council of the Arts/New York Fine Arts fellowship, a 2016 fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a 2015 Creative Capital Foundation Visual Arts Award.


Burns has exhibited at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; FRONT International: The Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art; Harvard Art Museums; and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, among many other museums, galleries, and exhibition spaces. Burns’s show Negative Space, which includes a science-fiction-inspired cycle of four multi-channel video installations, will open in 2023 at the Wexner Center for the Arts, in Columbus, Ohio. Burns is represented by Michel Rein Gallery, Paris/Brussels, and Video Data Bank, Chicago.

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