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Mel Chin

Mel Chin / Artist

Mel Chin is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas.

For instance, from 1995 to 1997, Chin organized ninety people to produce In the Name of the Place, a conceptual public art project conducted on prime-time television. This work debuted at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA, and concluded with an auction at Sotheby’s with all proceeds donated to create educational scholarships. In 1997, Chin completed two large-scale public commissions, titled Seven Wonders and Signal. Seven Wonders, located in the Sesquicentennial Park in Houston, TX, featured the art of 1,050 public school children born in the year of the Sesquicentennial, realized in seven seventy-foot high towers lit as lanterns along the city waterway. Signal, a collaboration with The Six Nations of the Iroquois and Seneca Tribe member Peter Jemison, was designed for the Broadway/Lafayette Subway Station in New York City. For KNOWMAD, 2001, Chin worked with software engineers to create a video game based on rug patterns of nomadic people facing persecution and cultures facing extinction. His proposal for a New World Trade Center was part of the American representation at the 2002 Venice Biennale of Architecture. He was the lead artist for the first joint university and public library project in the United States in San Jose, California, completed in 2007. Chin's film, 9-11/9-11, a hand-drawn, 24 minute production completed in Chile and the United States, won the prestigious Pedro Sienna Award for Best Animation, National Council for the Arts and Cultures, Chile, in 2007.

Chin also promotes works of art that have the ultimate effect of benefiting science, as in Revival Field, 1990-ongoing, and also in the current Operation Paydirt project, an attempt to make New Orleans, and cities across the U.S., lead-safe cities (see These projects are consistent with a conceptual philosophy, which emphasizes the practice of art to include sculpting and bridging the natural and social ecology.

Mel Chin continues to exhibit extensively in the United States and Europe, including one-man exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, the Menil Collection, Houston, TX, Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC, and the Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA. Chin was one of 16 artists included in the first year of the PBS Series, Art of the 21st Century, in 2001. A retrospective exhibition of his artwork will be presented at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2014.

More work by Mel Chin can be seen online at Also see

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