teresita fernandez

1. Art requires time — there’s a reason it’s called a studio practice. Contrary to popular belief, moving to Bushwick, Brooklyn, this summer does not make you an artist. If in order to do this you have to share a space with five roommates and wait on tables, you will probably not make much art. What worked for me was spending five years building a body of work in a city where it was cheapest for me to live, and that allowed me the precious time and space I needed after grad school.

2. Learn to write well and get into the habit of systematically applying for every grant you can find. If you don’t get it, keep applying. I lived from grant money for four years when I first graduated.

3. Nobody reads artist’s statements. Learn to tell an interesting story about your work that people can relate to on a personal level.

4. Not every project will survive. Purge regularly, destroying is intimately connected to creating. This will save you time.

5. Edit privately. As much as I believe in stumbling, I also think nobody else needs to watch you do it.

6. When people say your work is good do two things. First, don’t believe them. Second, ask them, “Why”? If they can convince you of why they think your work is good, accept the compliment. If they can’t convince you (and most people can’t) dismiss it as superficial and recognize that most bad consensus is made by people simply repeating that they “like” something.

7. Don’t ever feel like you have to give anything up in order to be an artist. I had babies and made art and traveled and still have a million things I’d like to do.

8. You don’t need a lot of friends or curators or patrons or a huge following, just a few that really believe in you.

9. Remind yourself to be gracious to everyone, whether they can help you or not. It will draw people to you over and over again and help build trust in professional relationships.

10. And lastly, when other things in life get tough, when you’re going through family troubles, when you’re heartbroken, when you’re frustrated with money problems, focus on your work. It has saved me through every single difficult thing I have ever had to do, like a scaffolding that goes far beyond any traditional notions of a career.

This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Teresita Fernández and Los Angeles County Museum of Art curator Stephanie Barron. 

Fernández has created a major new series of installations for MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. Titled “As Above So Below,” the exhibition moves through the museum’s architecture to create enormous vistas and smaller, more intimate moments with sculpture. The show includes three large-scale installations that are informed by Fernández's interest in landscape, art about landscape, and our perception of landscape, including Black SunSfumato (Epic) and Lunar (Theatre). Curated by Denise Markonish, “As Above So Below” is on view through March, 2015. The exhibition is accompanied by a sleek, handsome 96-page book.

This is Fernandez's Black Sun as installed at MASS MoCA. Click to expand it to 1,200px wide.

In 2005 Fernández received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship, and she currently serves on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at MOCA North Miami, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Artpace, the ICA Philadelphia, Castello di Rivoli outside Turin, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and others. 

How to listen to this week’s show: Listen to or download this week’s program on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at:

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Teresita Fernández’s As Above So Below

For more photos and videos from As Above So Below, follow @massmoca on Instagram.

Teresita Fernández (@teresitafz) created As Above So Below in response to the old factory space that houses the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (@massmoca) as well as the light that surrounds it. “The color in the works is meant to radiate a glowing light that changes with the tone of daylight pouring in through the windows of the space,” the artist says. “In many ways, the shapes and color of the works are like cinematic dissolves that seem ephemeral.”

The vivid colors and monumental scale of the works make them popular to photograph. “All of the works in the show deal with the idea of the viewer as a figure in the landscape,” Teresita says. “Visitors have captured that sensibility and played with that idea in their own photographs.”

As Above So Below is on view until March 2015.

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Teresita Fernández’s “Nishjin Sky” is on view through January 16th at the Kyoto University of Art and Design (京都造形藝術大學).

For this project, Fernández collaborated with Masataka Hosoo, a twelfth generation weaver of the Hosoo Family, whose Nishijin, Kyoto-based textile company was founded in 1688.

All photos: Noboru Morikawa

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This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Teresita Fernández and Los Angeles County Museum of Art curator Stephanie Barron. 

Fernández has created a major new series of installations for MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. Titled “As Above So Below,” the exhibition moves through the museum’s architecture to create enormous vistas and smaller, more intimate moments with sculpture. The show includes three large-scale installations that are informed by Fernández's interest in landscape, art about landscape, and our perception of landscape, including Black SunSfumato (Epic) and Lunar (Theatre). Curated by Denise Markonish, “As Above So Below” is on view through March, 2015. The exhibition is accompanied by a sleek, handsome 96-page book.

This is Fernández’s Projection Screen (Black Onyx) (2007). It's in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  

In 2005 Fernández received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship, and she currently serves on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at MOCA North Miami, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Artpace, the ICA Philadelphia, Castello di Rivoli outside Turin, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and others. 

How to listen to this week’s show: Listen to or download this week’s program on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at:

But this is precisely what internal success looks like. It is visible only to yourself and while you can trick the rest of the world into thinking you are a good artist, you can never really convince yourself, which is why you keep trying. If you’re lucky and motivated enough to keep making art, life is quiet, you get to work at what you love doing, happily chipping away at something, constructing something, adjusting to a cycle of highs and lows and in betweens, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing it for two years or 50 years, the patterns remain exactly the same.
—  Teresita Fernández. My mantra for 2015.
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This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Teresita Fernández and Los Angeles County Museum of Art curator Stephanie Barron. 

Fernández has created a major new series of installations for MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. Titled “As Above So Below,” the exhibition moves through the museum’s architecture to create enormous vistas and smaller, more intimate moments with sculpture. The show includes three large-scale installations that are informed by Fernández's interest in landscape, art about landscape, and our perception of landscape, including Black SunSfumato (Epic) and Lunar (Theatre). Curated by Denise Markonish, “As Above So Below” is on view through March, 2015. The exhibition is accompanied by a sleek, handsome 96-page book.

These are two views of Fernandez's Sfumato (Epic) as installed at MASS MoCA.  

In 2005 Fernández received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship, and she currently serves on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at MOCA North Miami, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Artpace, the ICA Philadelphia, Castello di Rivoli outside Turin, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and others. 

How to listen to this week’s show: Listen to or download this week’s program on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at: