Profile: Chloë Bass (1984-)

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Chloë Bass is an American conceptual artist who works in performance and social practice. Bass’s work focuses on intimacy. She was a founding co-lead organizer of Arts in Bushwick from 2007-2011, the group that organizes Bushwick Open Studios. She is an Assistant Professor of Art and Social Practice at Queens College, CUNY, and holds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Brooklyn College. Bass is also a regular contributor to publications like Hyperallergic.

Early life and education

Bass was born in New York City in 1984 and lived on the Upper West Side. In 2002 she moved to New Haven to pursue a BA in Theatre Studies at Yale University. Two labor strikes in 2003, including a dining hall workers’ strike, strongly affected Bass’s undergraduate experience, and influenced her later involvement with organizing.

She completed her MFA in Performance and Interactive Media at Brooklyn College in 2011.

Career

Bass moved to Bushwick in 2006, after her undergraduate degree program. In Bushwick she became a co-lead organizer of Arts in Bush-wick (2007-2011), and helped to organize Bushwick Open Studios, a project of which she is now critical, saying that “ultimately the damaging effect [of BOS] has been greater than the fun.” While living in Bushwick, Bass worked to register the area’s voters and, as a result of a displacement mapping project, gained a seat on Community Board Four, which she held until 2012. In 2011, she moved to an apartment in Bed-Stuy, where she currently lives. In 2014 she was the Create Change resident for The Laundromat Project in Bed-Stuy, creating a work called “The Department of Local Affairs”. For this work she collected information in the form of writing, drawing, and conversation by and for locals, examining what this looked like in contrast to information collected by companies for advertising or tourism.

Her ongoing eight-chapter project exploring individual social interactions, The Book of Everyday Instruction, has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and other venues. Chapters from this work have included creating poetic installations in bathrooms and inviting gallery-goers to smell jars of spice. 

In 2019 the Studio Museum in Harlem commissioned her first institutional solo exhibition, Wayfinding (2019) at St. Nicholas Park

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