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Photo: Annette Hornischer

Artist; and Donald Bren Professor of Art, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University of California, Irvine

Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in the Visual Arts - Class of Fall 2016

A Donald Bren Professor of Art at the University of California at Irvine since 1990, Daniel Joseph Martinez was born in Los Angeles and received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts. For more than 35 years he has honed his politically inflected practice, which critic Jeffrey Kastner has characterized as “unapologetically prob[ing] uncomfortable issues of personal and collective identity, seeking out threadbare spots in the fabric of conventional wisdom.” Martinez’s practice takes the form of photography, painting, site-specific installation, printed works, performance, and public interventions to question issues of personal and collective identity, vision and visuality, and the fissures formed between the appearance and the perception of difference.


Martinez has participated in a total of 16 international biennials, including two Whitney Biennials (1993, 2008); two SITE Santa Fe Biennials (2012, 2014); the Cairo Biennial, where he officially represented the United States in the American Pavilion (2010); the 6th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art (2010); the 2nd Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art (2007); and the Bienal Iberoamericana de Lima (2002). For the 1993 Whitney Biennial, Martinez created new text for the museum’s admission badges that read “I Can’t Ever Imagine Wanting to Be White.” At the 2008 Whitney Biennial, he presented the installation Divine Violence (2007), which functions, in his words, as “a typology of every organization in the world that uses violence or aggression to fulfill its political ideology.” His work can be found in numerous collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami.


Martinez has received three National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships, a Getty Center fellowship, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. His work has been recognized with the US Artists’ Fellowship (2008), Rasmuson Foundation Alaska’s artist-in-residence award (2009), Fellows of Contemporary Art Fellowship (2010), The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (2014), and Cannonball Visiting Residency in Miami (2015). Martinez has been the subject of five monographs, including A Life of Disobedience (Hatje Cantz, 2009), with essays by Arthur C. Danto, David Levi Strauss, Michael Brenson, and Hakim Bey. He is represented by Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California, which published The report of my death is an exaggeration; Memoirs: Of Becoming Narrenschiff (2014), with an essay by Juli Carson. Other recent publications about his work include Who We Be: The Colorization of America, by Jeff Chang; Exhibition as Social Intervention: “Culture in Action” 1993 Exhibition Histories, Volume 5 (Afterall Books); Whitney Museum of American Art Handbook; and Print/Out (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2012).

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