A Conversation with Artist Shaun Leonardo ’01

Photo of Shaun Leonardo ’01
Photo: Argenis Apolinario. Courtesy of The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Friday, June 4
3:00 p.m. EDT

As part of Bowdoin’s Reunion 2021 virtual festivities, acclaimed artist Shaun Leonardo ’01 will offer a presentation about his work and his new role as codirector at Brooklyn-based Recess, a nonprofit organization dedicated to partnering with artists to build more just and equitable creative communities. His presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Shelley Langdale ’85, curator and head of modern prints and drawings at the National Gallery of Art. Shaun and Shelley are both members of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art Advisory Council.

Shaun’s multidisciplinary work in drawing, painting, and performance negotiates societal expectations of manhood, namely definitions surrounding Black and Brown masculinities, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. His performance practice—anchored by his work in Assembly, a diversion program for court-involved youth at Recess—is participatory and invested in a process of embodiment.

Shaun earned his AB in visual arts at Bowdoin and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a recipient of support from Creative Capital, Guggenheim Social Practice, Art for Justice, and A Blade of Grass; and he was recently profiled in The New York Times and on CNN. His work has been featured at The Guggenheim Museum, the High Line, and the New Museum. A solo exhibition, The Breath of Empty Space, was recently presented at the Maryland Institute College of Art and MASS MoCA, and is currently on view at The Bronx Museum. For more on Shaun, visit elcleonardo.com.