i am an artist and an anthropologist.
On a perfect day I write in the morning, paint in the afternoon and do fieldwork in a dance studio, rehearsal room or around the dinner table.
My projects often involve unlikely mixtures of materials, people or places. Crossing disciplines, media and practices heightens my awareness the possibilities each offers to a stream of investigation. In the studio theories take form with the movement of a brush across a canvas. Those same gestures can flow into words on a page. Texts, or colors or ideas can flow gently or have sharp edges. I think of works of art or texts as bearing witness to particular aspects or moments in these flowing streams of discovery. Movement is central to my work and life.
I became an abstract expressionist at Berkeley. I also studied history, developed an interest in the concept of the "avant-garde" then moved to Paris to research colonial cinema. This led me to Morocco where I did fieldwork on images, politics and globalization. I made art about aspects of my fieldwork for which I found no words. Later, I designed projects that explicitly mingled and contrasted artistic and research practices. I created large collaborative programs that cross disciplines, like On the Line and The Moving Matters Traveling Workshop. With that work I developed new practices of as a performer and producer.
My art has been exhibited and performed in California, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Romania, Spain, the UK and Tunisia. I have published books and many articles and essays. Shifting Sites, Shaping Worlds, A Memoir of Anthropology and Art will come out with Routledge early next year.
I live between Los Angeles and Paris and teach at UC Riverside.
Indistinct Chatter, (On Line Group Show), Gallery 825, LAAA, July 1-10.
Type (Group Exhibition curated by Evan Senn) , College of the Golden West Gallery, March 5- June 30.
Calm, Centered, Torn, Stitched, Knotted ( Group exhibition curated by Cindy Rine), Chaffey Community Museum, Ontario California, February 23-March 27.
Threads of Truth, Social Impact and Fiber Arts, juried and curated by Sergio Gomez, Zhou B. Arts Center, Chicago, Il. January 21-February 26.
In Gold We Trust, juried by Leonardo Bravo, Art on 30th, San Diego, October 19-November 18, 2019.
COY, Group exhibition juried and curated by Phyllis Hofberg, Gallery 825, Los Angeles Art Association, September 14- November 1, 2019.
Ink and Clay (Group exhibition, juried by Michele Cairella-Fillmore), Kellog Gallery, California Polytchnic Institute Pomona, September 7- November 23, 2019.
The Body in Parts ( Group exhibition) Gestalt Projects, BG Gallery, Santa Monica, CA. August 24-September 7.
Art Theater for the Mind ( Group exhibition curated by Gene Sasse), Inland Empire Museum of Art, Upland ,CA. June 2-July 7.
Feminine Abstractions ( Two person exhibition with Cheryl Walker, curated by Ariane Dalla Dia) Mill and Mind, Riverside, CA, June 15-August 10.
Wissen/Schaffen (Two person exhibition with Claire Lambe), Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 7 June-8 July, 2017.
Walls (Group exhibition curated by Susan Ossman and Lisa Strehmann), Berlin Wall Monument/ Kapelle der Versöhnung, June-1 July 1, 2017.
On the Line (Series of evolving pop-up group exhibitions), Riverside Public Libraries, Arlanza March 4, La Sierra April 16 and Casa Blanca, May 21, 2016.
On the Line: 2016, (Suite of three solo exhibitions), Arlanza, La Sierra and Casa Blanca Libraries, Riverside, CA, February- May 2016.
Moving Matters Memory Books, (Group exhibition), Culver Center for the Arts, Riverside, CA. March 2016.
The Arts of Migration, (Group exhibition curated by Alexandru Balasescu), Center for Ideas and Society, UC Riverside, Riverside, CA.
My Memory your History, (Group exhibition, collectively curated by the MMTW), Gallery Typographia, Bucharest, Romania, Group exhibition.
Hanging Out, (Group exhibition), After Image Gallery, Riverside, CA. February-March 2015.
Objects in/of Migration, (Group Exhibition,) Allard Pierson Museum of Mediterranean Antiquities, Amsterdam, June 2014.
Ordinary Extraordinary (Solo exhibition), Medical School Exhibition Space, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, June –October
On the Line (Solo exhibition), Brandstater Gallery, La Sierra University, Riverside, CA, February-March 2013.
The Fabric of Fieldwork (Two person exhibition with WESSIELING). Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, April- June
Shifting Sites, Shaping Fieldwork, A Memoir of Anthropology and Art , Routledge, 2021.
Moving Matters: Paths of Serial Migration, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.
(ed) The Places We Share: Migration, Subjectivity and Global Mobility. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press, 2007.
Three Faces of Beauty: Casablanca, Paris, Cairo. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.
(ed) Miroirs Maghrébins, Itinéraires de soi et Paysages de Rencontre (Maghrebian Mirrors: Itineraries of Self and Landscapes for Encounters). Paris: CNRS Editions, 1998.
Picturing Casablanca: Portraits of Power in a Modern City. Berkeley: University of California
Stitching the Cloths of Serial Migrant Life: The Quilts of Barbara James, Borderlands, 2018.
Elective Anxieties: Migrating Art with the Moving Matters Traveling Workshop, Europe Now, July 2018.
"Wissen/Schaffen” from Fieldwork to Exhibition, Allegra Lab, January 2018.
Memory Books of Collective Motion, Medium.com, 2016
L'anthropologie visuelle, La vie des idées, 2015.
“Making Matrice: Intersubjectivity in Ethnography and Art,” (with Juliann Allison), Collaborative Anthropologies, Vol. 7, issue 1 (fall 2014).
“Making Art Ethnography: Painting, War and Ethnographic Practice,” in Art and Anthropology, eds. A. Schneider and C. Wright, London: Berg, 2010.