Profile: Edgar Arceneaux (1972)

Edgar Arceneaux is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He is the co-founder of the Watts House Project, a non-profit neighborhood redevelopment organization in Watts.

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Career

Arceneaux received his BFA from Art Center College of Design in 1996 and his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2001 after attending the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999 and the Fachhochschule Aachen, Germany, in 2000 and 2001.

He was the director of the Watts House Project from 1999-2012, and officially re-launched the organization in 2007 with Sue Bell Yank through the support of the Hammer Museum’s Artist Residency program,  as well as a team of Watts residents, artists, community organizers, and scholars. The Watts House Project focuses on renovating residential properties and providing programs and venues for community involvement in the neighborhood around the historic Watts Towers. The organization undertook its first remodeling projects in 2008 and was granted nonprofit status in 2009. 

In November 2003, the UCLA Hammer Museum exhibited Arceneaux’s Drawings of Removal, an installation that combined layered wall drawings, sculptural ephemera, and a makeshift studio in “an ongoing exploration of memory through the medium of drawing”.

He was named a United States Artists Fellow in 2007, and was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial.

In 2016 Arceneaux created Until, Until, Until…, a performance piece recreating and commenting on Ben Vereen’s controversial blackface performance at the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan. He has since toured with the piece.

Arceneaux is also an Associate Professor of Art for Roski School of Art and Design at USC; he lives and works in Pasadena, California.

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