Dr. Maya Stovall (Ph.D. Anthropology) THE NEW YORK TIMES says, “vividly juxtaposes art and life." ARTFORUM says she "channels the spirits of cities unseen," HYPERALLERGIC says she "dispels urban myths about Detroit," ARTNEWS calls her work “stunning” and ARTSY calls her work “pointed and reflexive.”
Equally a contemporary artist and an anthropologist, she is a Whitney Biennial artist (2017), a Studio Museum in Harlem F-Series artist (2017-18), and a tenure-line assistant professor and artist at Cal Poly in Pomona, Calif. She lives and works in both Detroit and Los Angeles County.
Interested in what she considers monumental questions of human existence, her PUBLIC LIBRARY (2018-ongoing) project is a meditation on crystal methamphetamine markets and on city life, framed with her conceptual art practice, in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada).
Her LIQUOR STORE THEATRE (2014-ongoing) project is a series of video-recorded performances and conversation about city life in the streets and sidewalks surrounding the eight liquor stores in her McDougall Hunt neighborhood on Detroit's east side.
She exhibits work and presents commissions widely in solo and group exhibitions and biennales across international museums and institutions in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Her work has recently appeared at The Whitney, Atlanta Contemporary, Newbridge Projects (United Kingdom), the Maryland Institute College of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Canada (Toronto), Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Cranbrook Art Museum (Detroit), Jessica Silverman Gallery (San Francisco), The Studio Museum in Harlem, Library Street Collective (Detroit), Pop Montreal, and more. She has been an invited artist in residence recently at the University of Aarhus (Denmark) and Aka Artist Run (Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada), the residency from which the Public Library Project emerged.
She has published peer-reviewed academic articles on her anthropological field research and her contemporary art practices in Transforming Anthropology and Journal of the Anthropology of North America, as well as in publications including Detroit Research Journal and The American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Anthropology News.
Her works are included in the permanent collections at The Cranbrook Art Museum and The Whitney Museum of American Art, and her book centered on her dissertation work and ongoing project, Liquor Store Theatre, is forthcoming with Duke Press, edited by Ken Wissoker.
Equally a contemporary artist and an anthropologist, I am interested in what I think of as sweeping questions of human existence--questions I explore on the streets and sidewalks of cities.
I focus my practice in cities and urban regions, viewed through an approach I consider post-minimalist, process-driven, spatiotemporal, and surrealist. Surrounded in philosophy and theory, my work centers on moving & still image and conceptual practice including objects and writings. Theory and text spin through and steep all of my practices.
For me, performance is a medium with unlimited intellectual possibilities--not unlike metal or glass--and I deploy the frameworks of performance, space, and place to press spectral questions around historical context and contemporary living. Centered in an approach prioritizing my interest in the bizarre, the possibilities of what I might investigate, and what I might make, remain open.