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Constantina Zavitsanos
Keith Haring Fellow 2021-22
A biographical picture of Constantina Zavitsanos depicts them in overalls, camouflage, and paisley. Their skin is white and their hair is dark, curly, and half tucked under a hat.
Photo: Allison Harris

Constantina Zavitsanos is a conceptual artist who works in sculpture, performance, text, and sound. Zavitsanos’s work elaborates what is invaluable in the re/production of debt, dependency, and other shared resources.

Their work questions how incapacity and the seemingly inconsequential performances of social life might exceed the threshold of measure. Zavitsanos’s practice celebrates disability and debt as difference beyond separability and works to reveal the false opposition of dependency and autonomy––a myth often used to reinforce scarcity (for the many) amid abundance (for the few). Yet, distribution itself has many forms: from the art historical takeaway, to the ubiquitously popular giveaway, from the solution of making a way, to the dissolution of making no way and living in means without ends. Zavitsanos’s work stays with this means beyond measure to deny measurement its claims on life at large (and small).

L&D Motel, their solo show at PARTICIPANT INC, New York, NY (2019), formally experimented with the holographic principle of quantum gravity through an installation that was built into the architecture of the gallery and which sculpted low frequency laser waves and infrasonic sound waves by feel. The exhibition foregrounded non-visual knowledge through participants’ experiences of touch and vibration.

Zavitsanos has exhibited and performed in New York at the New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, The Kitchen, Artists Space, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA PS1, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and Essex Street, and elsewhere in the U.S. at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH and Franklin Street Works, Stamford, CT. They have exhibited and performed internationally at Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin, Germany; Tramway in Glasgow, Scotland; Artspeak in Vancouver, Canada; Fri Art Kunsthalle Fribourg in Fribourg and the Gebert Stiftung für Kultur in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland; and the Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

With Park McArthur, they co-authored texts for Women and Performance: The Journal of Feminist Theory (Routledge, 2013), and Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (MIT Press, 2017). Zavitsanos was a New Museum Research and Development Season: SPECULATION Artist-in-Residence (2015) and was awarded the Wynn Newhouse Award (2015). They were a visiting artist at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (2017).

With others in New York’s disability community, Zavitsanos co-organized the cross-disability arts festival, I wanna be with you everywhere, at Performance Space New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Zavitsanos holds an M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia and a B.F.A. from Millersville University and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program.

Zavitsanos was the 2021 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Art’s Roy Lichtenstein Award.