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Heidi Kumao



Photograph of Heidi Kumao


Curriculum Vitae
  • M.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1991
  • B.S. (Chemistry), University of California-Davis, 1988
  • B.A. (Art Studio), University of California-Davis, 1988

Generating artistic spectacle through the intersection of cinema, sculpture, theater and technology, Heidi Kumao reframes ordinary gestures to explore their psychological underside. Her interests have manifested a wide range of hybrid art forms including: a game interface which empowers users to hack live CNN broadcasts, provocative electronic women’s clothing, electromechanical girl’s legs that “misbehave,” surreal stop motion animations, narrative video sculptures, short experimental films and “cinema machines,” sabotaged household objects outfitted with hand made projectors.

She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Canada and China including solo shows at: the Museu da Imagem e do Som (São Paulo), Museu de Arte Moderne (Buenos Aires), Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Centro Cultural Light (Rio de Janeiro), Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens (San Francisco), Arizona State University Art Museum, Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester), Ceres Gallery (NYC), Three Rivers Art Gallery (Pittsburgh), and Art in General in New York City, among many others. “Hidden Mechanisms,” a solo show of her “cinema machines” toured for a couple of years to Brazil, Argentina, and the U.S.

Group show venues include: the Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Wing Luke Asian Art Museum (Seattle), and Usina do Gasômetro Cultural Center (Porto Alegre, Brazil), San Jose Museum of Art, National Academy Museum (New York City), El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe (NM), Museo Universtario Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City) and Wing Luke Asian Art Museum (Seattle) among others.

She has received numerous national fellowships, grants, residencies and awards including: a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Creative Capital Grant in Emerging Fields/Robotics, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Art Matters, The American Association of University Women, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Studio for Creative Inquiry. Her films have been screened in festivals nationally and internationally in the Black Maria Film Festival (Jury’s Choice Award – 1st Prize), Seoul International Extreme-Short Image & Film Festival (Best Experimental/Documentary Award), Videoholica International Video Art Festival in Bulgaria (Bronze Videoholica Award), Rencontres Internationales Sciences & Cinemas, Marseille, and SIMULTAN Festival in Romania.

She has been in residence at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo Art Colony, Jentel Artist Residency Program, the Arctic Circle Residency, Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, Light Work, and Sculpture Space.

Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Arizona State University Art Museum, the Exploratorium, and numerous private collections and has been reviewed in Artforum, Art Papers, Sculpture Magazine, and Afterimage.

Prior to arriving at the University of Michigan, Kumao taught media studies and photography at Syracuse University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and intermedia classes at RISD and City College in New York City. She is a professor at the Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.