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Fay Ku

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Taipei, Taiwan

Birth year

Lives in
Brooklyn, New York

Works in
Brooklyn, New York


Representing galleries


Born in Taipei, Taiwan, and raised as an outsider in a series of small American towns, Ku invokes both Eastern and Western traditions in her drawings, which combine remarkably smooth draftsmanship and meticulous detail with idiosyncratic, discomforting ideas.

Ku's work is inspired, as she puts it, by the negative 'residues' of human culture, such as violence and social failures. Her inspirations are many - from the morbid Chinese folk tales she heard as a child to the films she sees and the literature she reads -- but her art is inspired by the things that stick with her, whether she wants them to or not.

"It's similar to when you touch something sticky, and you don't know what it is, but you can feel it on your hand all day," Ku says.

Her works are enigmatic, dreamlike and occasionally zoomorphic. While her figures have aged and changed as she has, most of her established body of work shows female figures, often children, locked into combat.

In Room For One, a girl in a boat stabs at submerged swimmers with a sharp pick; in Curse, in Ostrich Hunt, three young children try to drag down a bird; while in Tiger Girls, half-human figures snarl and fight.

Despite the inherent strife, Ku's figures remain austere, showing no emotion as they act out brutal allegories of human socialization.

"I think I started off with children because I needed them to be sympathetic," Ku says. "I didn't want to shock people away from the darker side of human nature."

Ku's drawings recall the callousness and lack of empathy of children, who have not yet learned the customs and niceties adults use to mask society's true savagery.

"We're not that much evolved when we become grownups," Ku says. "We have the veneer of being socialized, but all those tendencies and emotions are barely under the surface."

Similarly, Ku's art often manages to be simultaneously macabre and whimsical; delightfully wicked, if one will. She also contrasts her dark subject matter with elegant patterns and her detailed figures with expansive white space.

Ku received an M.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and a dual B.A. in literature and visual arts from Bennington College in Vermont. She has had at least six solo exhibitions since 2005, during which time her work has been included in nearly 20 group shows. Ku has received numerous residencies and awards, which include extended residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, the Santa Fe Art Institute and the VAN Artist Residency, as well as the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant and the A.I.R. Emerging Artist Fellowship.


Curriculum Vitae


Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
MS Art History & MFA Studio Art

Bennington College, Bennington, VT
Dual BA in Literature and Visual Arts



Are We Having Fun Yet?, Central Utah Art Center, Ephraim, UT   


Half Breeds, Sam Lee Gallery, Los Angeles              


Face All Eyes, Eyes All Hands, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI.             


Sleeping Beasts (Site Specific Installation), National Performance Network Conference, Knoxville, TN.
Double Entendre, Eight Modern, Santa Fe, NM.
Fay Ku, Goedhuis Contemporary, New York. Brochure.
Outliers, L MD Galerie, Paris, France
New/Now: Fay Ku, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT.


Fay Ku: A Survey Of Works 2004-2008,Kips Gallery, New York. Catalogue.
Deviance, Sam Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Fairy Tales Re-Told, Brooklyn Public Central Library, Brooklyn, NY


Surface Tension
Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. Brochure


Here Be Monsters, A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY
Life Boat, Metaphor Contemporary Art, Brooklyn, NY



SuperHuman, Central Utah Art Center, Ephraim, UT and Alijira, Newark, NJ.
It Came From Chashama, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY.


Pressing Ideas: Fifty Years of Women’s Lithographs from Tamarind, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Four for the Future, Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM.
Move, Galerie L MD, Paris, France.


Tales Gone In Flocks and Herds, Crossing Art Gallery, Flushing, New York.
Animal Instinct: Allegory, Allusion, and Anthropomorphism, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Shebogyan, WI.
Going Green: Taiwan's New Environmental Art<, Taipei Cultural Center, New York< Houston, TX, and Taipei, Taiwan. Catalogue.
Tamarind Celebrates 50 Years, Chiaroscuro Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
Hunting Trophies, Parker’s Box, Brooklyn.
The Great American Watercolor, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT. Brochure.
Two Degrees, Sartori Gallery, New York


She: Feminine Visions by Taiwanese-American Artists, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York
Beyond China: The New Ink Paintings from Taiwan, Goedhuis Contemporary, London, UK
Fata Morgana, Dabora Gallery, Brooklyn
New York Group Show, L MD Gallery, Paris
Other, Other....High Visibility, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx
Frolic: Humor & Mischief in Taiwanese Art, Hillwood Art Museum, Brookville, NY
All's Fair in Art and War: Envisioning Conflict
21C Museum & International Contemporary Art Foundation, Louisville, KY


Mind the Gap, Eight Modern Gallery, Santa Fe.
More Stories, Todd Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
From Brooklyn, With Love, Parker’s Box, Brooklyn


Four Artists, curated by Eugenie Tsai, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, NY
Frolic: Humor & Mischief in New Taiwanese Art
Curated by Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos & Jane Ingram Allen
2x13 Gallery & Taipei Cultural Center, New York, NY (With Exhibition Catalogue)
Once There Was, Once There Wasn't: Fairy Tales Retold, Eight Modern Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
Troubled Waters, curated by Hélianthe Bordeaux-Maurin, Parker's Box, Brooklyn, NY
Working Space, curated by Tricia YunJoo Paik, Cuchifritos, New York, NY
The Troubled Waters of Permeability! Parker's Box, Brooklyn, NY


Kid Pink Gloves,Chashama, New York.
NextNext Visual Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY.
Little Monsters, AG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
The Lady Doth Protest Too Much, Heidi Cho Gallery, New York.
Bearings: The Female Figure, P.S. 122 Gallery, New York.Y
Unforgiven, The Changing Room, New York.
Pratt MFA Graduate Exhibition, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York.


I.D.:i.d., A.I.R. Gallery, New York.
Summer Solstice, Gallery Boreas, Brooklyn, NY.
Good Housekeeping< Tribes Gallery, New York.
Underneath, McCaig-Wells Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
Women's Identities,Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York.
Characters I, Shore Institute of Contemporary Art, Long Branch, NJ.
Characters II, Silvermine, New Canaan, CT. Catalogue.


MFA Show, Steuben Gallery (Pratt Institute), Brooklyn, NY.
Chance Encounters, Open Ground, Brooklyn, NY.
MFA Show, Steuben Gallery (Pratt Institute), Brooklyn, NY.
Art Of The Book, Pratt Institute Library, Brooklyn, NY.
Generations.04, A.I.R. Gallery, New York.
Open Season IV, Open Ground, Brooklyn, NY.



Women's Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY  


Chashama Visual Arts Studio Program, New York
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI


Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM
University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV


Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE
Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM


Real Art Ways Open Emerging Artist Selectee, Hartford, CT
Weir Art Farm Residency, Wilton, CT
Urban Artists Initiative/NYC Project Grant


Artist Alliance Inc. (AAI) Lower East Side Rotating Studio Program, New York.  



National Performance Network (NPN)/Visual Arts Network (VAN) Project Grant
New York Foundation for the Arts (Deutsche Bank Fellow)


Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant
National Performance Network (NPN)/Visual Arts Network (VAN) Pilot Project Grant
Urban Artists Initiative/NYC Project Grant


A.I.R. Emerging Artist Fellowship               

Asian American Art Centre, New York, NY
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
The New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT

Recent Exhibits

Fay Ku participated in these exhibits:

Jan, 2014 Unruly
Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art
Sep, 2013 Local Futures
He Xiangning Art Museum
Jun, 2013 For Which It Stands
The Lodge Gallery
May, 2013 Asa Nisa Masa
Eight Modern
Mar, 2013 new work
Karin Weber Gallery
Feb, 2013 Year of the Snake
Eight Modern
Click here to see all exhibits for Fay Ku
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