2001 Spam luncheon meat and pins on a painted wall 36 in. x 48 in. x 2 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Arcega is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and installation. Though visual, his art revolves largely around language. Directly informed by historic events, material significance, and the format of jokes, his subject matter deals with sociopolitical circumstances where power relations are unbalanced.
Michael has a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute and an M.F.A. from Stanford University. His work has been exhibited at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Orange County Museum of Art, the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Cue Arts Foundation, and the Asia Society in New York among many others. He was recently awarded a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship in Fine Arts. Michael is currently a Resident Fellow at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska.
As an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and installation, my work revolves largely around language and research. Directly informed by Historic events, material significance, and the format of jokes, my subject matter deals with sociopolitical circumstances where power relations are unbalanced.
I seek out cultural and historic markers embedded in objects, food, architecture, visual lexicons, and vernacular languages. For instance, vernacular Tagalog is infused with Spanish and English words, lending itself to verbal mutation. This malleability results in wordplay and jokes that transform words like Persuading to First Wedding, Tenacious to Tennis Shoes, and Masturbation to Mass Starvation. As a "Naturalized American," my practice draws from the sensibility of the insider and outsider-- making work from a constantly shifting position.
- Born: Manila, Philippines
- Based: San Francisco, CA, USA