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Vernita N'Cognita AKA Vernita Nemec

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Painesville, Ohio

Lives in
New York City

Works in
New York City


Ohio University, BFA
New York University, MA
Naropa Institute of Poetry & Buddism

Representing galleries

Butoh, feminist, performance, installation, collage


Vernita Nemec AKA Vernita N'Cognita's first installation artworks  were the fragments and detritus of her artmaking, transferred from the walls of her studio to the gallery. She continues creating installations both as site-specific works and as backdrops for performance artworks aswell as mixed -media collages & photographs.

A sense of autobiography has permeated all of Nemec’s art since her first feminist performance  when she swept a street corner in Soho where she still lives and works. Her first performance was at the Guggenheim Museum in Meredith' Monk's "Juice". Since, she has performed her own work at the Women's Building in Los Angeles, La Mama, Franklin Furnace and other venues including Guerrilla Performances at the Pompidou Museum in Paris.

Always a collagist, the artist’s "Endless Junkmail Scroll” is about creatively “recycling” all that junkmail inducing us to borrow & charge. Initially inspired by her artistic mother whose choice for drawing, as well as for grocery lists, was used envelopes, the artist adds fragments of paint, words, drawings & photographs to the surface of the collaged security envelopes that serve as the basic structure of the scroll. Begun nearly a decade ago conceptually, the “Endless Junkmail Scroll” is now over 200 feet in length and growing still. Exhibited sometimes as a scroll and sometimes as framed sections, the collaged scroll serves as a constant reminder of all that we discard senselessly.

The artist added "N’Cognita" to her name to honor all unknown artists and has been active as a visual/performance artist/curator when she co-curated “X-12”, one of the first feminist art shows of the period, and worked with Artworkers Coalition (AWC), Women Artists in Revolution (WAR), and Artists Meeting for Cultural Change

In the 90’s, Nemec served as Director of Artists Talk On Art, interviewing art world luminaries, and as independent curator at Henry Street Settlement for the Arts. Until 2006, she was the Director of Viridian Artists, a contemporary art gallery in Chelsea. She has serving on the Board of Directors of Soho 20, a feminist gallery also in Chelsea and since the mid-nineties she has been curating independently, primarily exhibits of art from recycled materials.

The artist completed her BFA cum laude at Ohio University, receiving an NDEA Grant to finish her Master’s degree at New York University and grants since from the Jerome Foundation, Artists Space, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, The Puffin Foundation & others. Nemec has presented her visual and performance art in the U.S., Mexico, Hungary, Germany, Japan, Ireland and France.

“My artmaking is a way of translating my thoughts, fears and fantasies into installations, performances, photographs, collages and poetry. With paper, torn edges, found objects and images, I create a visual autobiography. Addressing issues of relationship, loss and self-actualization (AKA Feminism) my fragmented imagery, though seemingly disconnected, is imbued with complexities and nuances that I feel reflect our 21st century lives.

In 1997 I wrote: "My art is about anger, pain, pleasure, hopes, regrets, mistakes, love, hate, freedom, recycling, adolescence, childhood, dolls, aging, happiness, fantasies, dread, fear, beauty, nature, politics, power, destruction, distraction, sexuality, sexism, feminism, spirituality, illness, healing, drugs, envy, science, art, history, memories, dreams, nightmares, hopelessness, confusion, play, daddy, mommy, secrets, lies, life, death, detritus, innuendo, art making and chance." My art is about all that still, regardless of what media I use.

Before that, I tackled adolescent memories and wanting better love; feminism, artmaking and the conflicts therein. In the nineties I struggled with issues of identity and purpose and now in the twenty-first century, I have added the dilemma of aging.

A would-be dancer, singer and actor, I put all that, along with my poetic ambitions, into my performance art. My visual artworks, have included series of Haiku Collages, Body Prints, Dick Drawings & The Endless Junkmail Scroll to name a few. I save everything, in case I can later turn it into art. My studio, where I have lived & worked since 1972, is filled with the detritus of my life, both frustrating & inspiring me.

Autobiography & what it is to be a female is a constant thread, whether I am performing a word & movement piece (aka performance art) or creating a physical artwork.”

Nemec, also known as N'Cognita to honor underknown artists, has presented more than 70 performance artworks in the United States, Hungary, Japan, Ireland, Germany, Mexico and France, including guerrilla performances at the Pompidou Museum in Paris, Documenta 13 in Kassel. Butoh adapted forms an important aspect of her performance work. often solo or in conjunction with the musician Sean Carolan incorporates voice, transformation, drawn from autobiography and persobnal revelation was selected for the 2nd time by Movement Research at Judson Dance Theater. Her visual art of primarily mixed media collages & installations has been used as props & sets for her performances and presented in more than 20 solo exhibitions in the United States, Ireland and Hungary. Outstanding is her ongoing Endless Junkmail Scroll begun in 2006 and continuing to be presented as it grows. Her visual art is in the collections of MOMA, the Savaria Museum in Hungary, Sylvia Sleigh Collection of Feminist Art@Rowan University, Asian American Art Center, Franklin Furnace, Fairfax Hospital in Viirginia, Groupa Junij, Belgrade and many private collections.


BFA Ohio University

MA, New York University

Additional study: SVA; Naropa Institute; Performance Writing, Simone Forti;

Butoh and performance theory with many noted Japanese & American performers including Noboru Kamita, Eiko of Eiko & Komo, at PICA in Portland OR with Deborah Hay & Akira Kasai, and most recently Body Resonance at Schloss Broellin in Germany with Yumiko Yoshioka. Butoh “adapted” forms an important aspect of her performance work.

Performance Art

2014 Movement Research@Judson Memorial Church, NYC

2013 Theater for the New City, NYC, LES Festival

2012-13Schloss Homberg, Germany

SOHO 20, Savoir Faire, NYC

Documenta 13, (guerrilla performance) Kassel, Germany

2011 Galerie Nord, San Antonio, Tx

2010 Fieldwork, Dance Theater Workshop, NYC; WAH Center, Brooklyn

2009 Movement Research@Judson Memorial Church, NYC

2008 University Settlement Theater, NYC; Dinnerware, Tucson, AZ;

2007 Sackler Center for Feminist Art@Brooklyn Museum; Monster Truck Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

2006-07(guerrilla performance), Pompidou, Paris, France

2005 Vogelfrei 6, Darmstadt, GR.(catalog)

2004-11 Linda Montano's 7 Year Performance,

2003 Fine Arts Bldg Gallery, Chicago IL

2002 Performance Studies International Conference, NYU, NYC

2001 Atelier Juvan, Offenbach, Germany; 7th Performance Studies Conference, Mainz, Germany

2000 Soho20, NYC

1999 Five Cities Project, Tokyo, Japan

1998 the Edge Festival, LES NYC

1995-90 Cami Hall, NYC, 1992 Cunningham Studio, NYC', 1990 La Mama La Galleria, NYC

1989 BACA Downtown, Spontaneous Combustion, Brooklyn NY; La Mama La Galleria, NYC:

1986 Guggenheim (WCA);Experimental Intermedia, NYC:

1985 Franklin Furnace, NYC & The Woman's Building, Los Angeles, CA; Douglass College, New Brunswick,

solo exhibitions

2007 Monster Truck Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

2005 Central Wyoming College, Riverton WY., Gallery 128, NYC

2001 SE Missouri State University Museum

1999 Westchester Community College, NY,

1995 NIH, Bethesda, Maryland

1993 ARTPOOL, Budapest, Hungary;

1985 Women's Building, Los Angeles, CA,


2013 Movement Research Monday Night Series

2012 KICKSTARTER- for “Sighs & Whispers” presentation in Germany

2011 NACL- North American Cultural Laboratory Residency, The Field

2010 FarSpace Grant, The Field

2009 Movement Research Monday Night Series

2008 Field Work at EarthDance, Massachusetts, Artist in Resident

2007 Puffin Grant for Art From Detritus Exhibit

2004-2011 7 Years of Living Art, created by Linda Montano

2000 Travel Grant, Performance Studies International (PSI) Mainz, Gr.

1997 IACP Grant from THE FIELD, NYC

1995 Kauffman Foundation (for "Art from Detritus"), Kansas City MO

1988 Jerome Foundation (Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art)

1986,87 NYSCA (Experimental Intermedia & Snug Harbor Cultural Center)

1985 NEA (Los Angeles Women's Building & Franklin Furnace)


“Art People”, The New York Times, February 1981 - Grace Glueck

New York Post, February 1981 - Jerry Tallmer

Uj Tukor, November 1981 - Ban Andras

High Performance, Spring/Summer 1982 - Linda Burnham

Women’s Art Journal, vol.3#1 summer 1982 – Ellen Lubell, Women Artists:Self-Image, pg.12,13

The Village Voice, February 21, 1984 - Lucy Lippard

The New Yorker, January 7, 1991 - Goings on About Town

The New York Times, March 17, 1991 - Kathleen Beckett

The Daily Courier, March 15, 1993 - Budapest

"The Power of Feminist Art", 1994, Harry Abrams (Pub), edited by Norma Broude & Mary Garrard

“The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Feminist Essays on Art”, 1995, Lucy Lippard

Gallery & Studio, “NY Notes”, summer 2000

“Performance Artists Talking in the Eighties”, Linda Montano, California Press, 2000

Gallery & Studio, “NY Notes”, "N'Cognita & Company", Jan./Feb. 2001

The Art of Mary Beth Edelson, D.A.P.Publishers, 2002 (interview w Nancy Spero)

Art Calendar, summer 2002, Donna Marxer

The Nation, 9/23/02, “The Art of 9/11” by Arthur Danto, + photo

Hottle, Andrew, “Groundbreaking: The Women of the Sylvia Sleigh Collection”, 2011

http://chelseagallerista.blogspot.c.... February 28, 2011

represent: the painting life David Dorsey’s blog 'Invisibility made visible/ February 20th, 2012”




Recent Exhibits

Vernita N'Cognita AKA Vernita Nemec participated in these exhibits:

Jul, 2014 Security/ Insecurity
Cannon's Walk
Nov, 2009 Open Performance "Tied" etc
DTW, David White Room, 3rd floor, 219 West 19th St betw 7-8th av
Apr, 2009 destination's 8th Anniversary Sale & SHOW&SELL:The Art Market
destination Art Space
Dec, 2008 Exposures
Ceres Gallery
Nov, 2008 Live Arts Collaboration
University Settlement
Aug, 2008 08 - 08 - 08
Rivington School Underground,
Click here to see all exhibits for Vernita N'Cognita AKA Vernita Nemec
Exhibited with these artists
Exhibited at these venues
curated with these artists
curated at these venues
Vernita N'Cognita AKA Vernita Nemec has curated at these venues:

Viridian Artists Standard Motor Products Building - Acumen Project Space
Sabay Thai
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