October 24, 2019

Nayland Blake: 2019–20 Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Nayland Blake, 2019. Photo: School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) welcomes Nayland Blake as the 2019–20 Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Professor.

Nayland Blake is an internationally acclaimed interdisciplinary artist and educator. Blake’s work first came to national and international attention when it was featured in the 1991 Whitney Biennial and the 1993 Venice Biennale. They were also included in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s notable Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art exhibition in 1994. In 1995, Blake co-curated at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. This was the first major show to exhibit the work of queer artists exclusively. The book produced from the show has become a standard in queer art scholarship. A survey exhibition of Blake’s work, No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake, runs from September 29, 2019, through January 26, 2020 at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Blake’s work perennially theatricalizes, and even eroticizes, the characteristically suppressed linkages between interracial desire, same-sex desire, and the overt displays of bigotry and intolerance that customarily greet such transgressions as these. It also frequently probes the changing relationship of the artist’s self to their body, its relative health and wellness, and others’ perceptions of it.

Blake’s work has been shown extensively since 1990, notably in one-person survey exhibitions at the Yerba Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Location One, New York; and the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. Blake was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012. Their works have been included in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; New Museum, New York; International Center of Photography, New York; Artists Space, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadephia; Tate Liverpool, England; and the Center for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland, among many other venues. Blake’s work is included in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Their writings have been published in Artforum, Interview, Out, Outlook, and numerous exhibition catalogues.

As SAIC’s 2019–20 Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor, Blake will co-teach a course at SAIC. The course, Psychogeography, is offered through the Sculpture department and co-taught with Adjunct Assistant Professor Matt Morris.

Established in 2006 by a generous gift from Bill and Stephanie Sick of Winnetka, Illinois, the Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professorship enables internationally renowned artists and designers to visit and teach at SAIC. Previous Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professors include Bruce Mau, Jaume Plensa, Bill Fontana, Catherine Opie, Andrea Zittel, Theaster Gates, Chris Ware, Ann Hamilton, Laura Owens, and most recently, Amanda Williams.

About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alums and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman. For more information, please visit

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