On View:  August 6 – October 10, 2020

Migrating Bodies: For(saking) Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Curatorial Statement

Migrating Bodies: For(saking) Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, on view at the Schneider Museum of Art August 6th through October 10th 2020, presents work by five artists or artist collectives that address global migration, its causes and effects.  Co-curated by Jill Hartz, former executive director of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Scott Malbaurn, director of the Schneider Museum of Art, and Richard Herskowitz, artistic and executive director of the Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF), the exhibition is planned in conjunction with AIFF.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends Report, released in June 2019, nearly 70.8 million people were displaced at the end of 2018. The causes of displacement and migration – war and violence, famine, climate change, and economy– indeed, the struggle to survive and have a better life, seem unending and are, if anything growing more dire, even as many world leaders see refugees and immigrants as threats to their cultures and pawns in their political strategies. The artists in Migrating Bodiesaddress the subject from both personal and historical perspectives.


Tannaz Farsi:
Her work has been exhibited at Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Disjecta Art Center, Portland, OR; Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont; Tacoma Art Museum, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington; and The Sculpture Center, Cleveland. She has been granted residencies at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Ucross Foundation, the McDowell Colony, Studios at Mass MOCA, Santa Fe Art Institute and the Rauschenberg Residency. Her work has been supported through grants and awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, University of Oregon and the Ford Family Foundation where she was named a Hallie Ford Fellow (2014).

Guillermo Gómez-Peña:
(US/Mexico)Gómez-Peña a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and director of the legendary performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. Born in Mexico City, he moved to the US in 1978. His performance work and 12 books have contributed to the debates on cultural & gender diversity, border culture and US/Mexico relations. His artwork has been presented at over a thousand venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia. A MacArthur Fellow, Bessie and American Book Award winner, he is a regular contributor for newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe, a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU/MIT) and the Live Art Almanac (Live Art Development Agency-UK). Gómez-Peña is also a Senior Fellow in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and a Patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency, He was named Samuel Hoi Fellow by USA Artists in 2012 and received a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation in 2013. He is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow. He is currently preparing two new books for Routledge (2019) and a documentary portrait of his beloved troupe.

Mohau Modisakeng:
Awarded the Sasol New Signatures Award for 2011. He has exhibited at VOLTA NY, New York, Saatchi Gallery, London, Dak’Art Biennale, Focus 11, Basel and Stevenson, Cape Town. His work is included in public collections such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town and the Saatchi Gallery, London.

Deborah Oropallo:
(American, bornin Hackensack, New Jersey, 1954) received an MA/MFA from the University of California at Berkeley and a BFA from Alfred University. Originally trained as a painter, Oropallo incorporates mixed media techniques, including photomontage, video, computer editing, printmaking, and painting into her practice. Whether still or moving images, the resulting works bear traces of the distortions that evolve or remain from the image manipulation.  Her composite works layer visual sources producing dense interplay between time, place, form, and content. She has collaborated on video works with Andy Rappaport since 2017.

Oropallo’s exhibition history includes monographic exhibits at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the Boise Art Museum, Idaho; Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, California; the San Jose Museum of Art, California; and work in exhibits at the Whitney Museum of American Art (Whitney Biennial), New York, New York;the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; The Corcoran Gallery of Art (Corcoran Biennial), Washington DC; and The Jewish Museum, New York, New York. Oropallo’s work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; and the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, California. The collaborative video work with Andy Rappaport titled Smoke Stacked(2017) is in the Nevada Museum of Art, collected as a part of their ongoing initiative to support works operating at the intersection of art and the environment. The artists’nine-channel video installationFLIGHT(2019) is currently featured in a solo exhibition at The Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, California. In December 2019, 21c Museum Hotels, Louisville, Kentucky acquiredFLIGHT(2019) for its permanent collection. Oropallo’s video works, with sound editing by Andy Rappaport, are also held in the permanent collections of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California (Going Ballistic, 2017; acquired in 2019) and the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno (Smoke Stacked,2017; acquired in 2017).

Oropallo’s work is the subject of two monographs: POMP(2009) published by Gallery 16, and How To, published by the San Jose Museum of Art. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award, a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation, the Engelhard Award, and a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

Oropallo lives in West Marin, California and has been represented by Catharine Clark Gallery since 2013.

Andy Rappaport:
(American, born in New York, New York, 1957) has had a nearly 50-year long involvement with music and sound and his experience ranges from fronting rock-and-roll bands, to performing as a singer-songwriter, to designing and building recording studios and equipment.

Rappaport’s collaboration with Deborah Oropallo on the video works for Dark Landscapes for a White Housemarked his first foray into music for moving images since scoring student films in the 1970s and draws on his experiences at that time with some of the earliest commercially available music synthesizers.

The artistic partnership between Oropallo and Rappaport is on-going and their collaborative work constitutes more than eight video projects. Their installations have been included in Digital Nature IIat the Los Angeles Arboretum, Pasadena, California; Natural Discourseat the Sagehen Creek Field Station, near Lake Tahoe, California; and FLIGHTat The Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, California. FLIGHT will be exhibited in 2020 at the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University, Ashland. In January 2020, the artists will show FLOODat the entrance to UNTITLED, ART San Francisco.

Rappaport is the co-founder, with his wife, Deborah Rappaport, of Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco, CA. He is also a photographer. Rappaport’s collaborative work with Oropallo is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery.

A Danish artist group founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen. Superflex describe their projects as Tools, as proposals that invite people to participate in and communicate the development of experimental models that alter the economic production conditions. Solo exhibitions include the Kunsthalle Basel,Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, the REDCAT, Los Angeles, Mori Museum, Tokyo, Gallery 1301PE, Los Angeles and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. International biennials include Gwangju biennial, Korea, Istanbul Biennial, São Paulo Biennial, Shanghai Biennial and “Utopia Station” exhibition at the Venice Biennale. They contributed to the exhibition Rethink Kakotopia shown at the Nikolaj Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen 2009 and at Tensta Konsthall 2010.

Back to Current Exhibitions


Jill Hartz
Richard Herskowitz
Scott Malbaurn


Tannaz Farsi
Guillermo Gómez-Peña with collaborators Felicia Rice, Gustavo Vazquez, & Zachary Watkins
Mohau Modisakeng
Deborah Oropallo
Andy Rappaport