Saya Woolfalk

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Chimera , 2013 Single Channel Video 2 Min. 52 Sec. © Saya Woolfalk / Film maker: Rachel Lears
Installation shot of Chimera , 2013 © Courtesy of the artist and Third Streaming
Chimera , 2013 Single Channel Video 2 Min. 52 Sec. © Saya Woolfalk / Film maker: Rachel Lears
The Institute of Empathy , 2013 Single Channel Video 5 Min. 14 Sec. © Saya Woolfalk / Film maker: Rachel Lears
Aerial Display (Blossoming) , 2012 Fleece, Wool, Felt, Plastic Beads, Plastic Bones, Feathers, Abaca Paper, Glitter Shoes, Spandex © Courtesy of the artist and Third Streaming
Star Compulsion, 2012 Fabris, Felt, Papier Mâché, Plastic Beads, Mannequins, Latex Paint. 12' Diameter © Saya Woolfalk
The Neurological Balance of Floral Energy, 2011 Gouache On Paper 40 X 30 © Saya Woolfalk
No Place, 10/21/10 Painting © Saya Woolfalk
Skull with Blood Diamonds , 2007 © Courtesy of the artist
Doll girl 2, 2005 Gouache On Paper 14" X 17" © Courtesy of the artist
Paradise Imagined , 2004 Mixed Media Installation/ Performance And Video 24 × 24 × 10 Feet, 30 Min © Courtesy of the artist and Third Streaming
Sweethearts , 2004 Performance 30 Minutes And Video 7 Minutes © Courtesy of the artist and Third Streaming
Love Monster , 2003 Performance 30 Min And Video 5 Min. © Saya Woolfalk
© Courtesy of the artist
Nostalgia Series , 2001 Girlhood And Headdress © Courtesy of the artist
Pages from the book ‘Empathetic Plant Alchemy’: Pollinators and Plants Used in the Merger of Plant and Human DNA, 2011 Gouache On Paper. Collection Of Margo And Frank Walter © Saya Woolfalk
Installation shots from museum show "The Empathics" at Montclair Art Museum, 2012 Mixed Media
Chimera (from The Empathics series), 2013 Mixed Media Installation, Single Channel Video; 4 Min 12 Sec, 2 Min 49 Sec Dimensions Variable © Courtesy of the Artist and Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Taipei)
© Courtesy of the artist and Emerson Dorsch
Right: Vandana Jain, Dazzle Unicorn, 2010
Untitled #3 from the ChimaTEK series, courtesy of Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, 2014 Mixed Media Collage On Paper
Quick Facts
Birth year
Lives in
New York
Works in
New York
Representing galleries

Saya Woolfalk (Japan, 1979) is a New York based artist who uses science fiction and fantasy to re-imagine the world in multiple dimensions (sculpture, installation, painting, performance and video). She has exhibited at PS1/MoMA; Deitch Projects; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts; and Performa 09; and has been written about in Sculpture Magazine,, The New York Times, Huffington Post and on Art21’s blog. With funding from the NEA, her solo exhibition, The Institute of Empathy, ran at Real Art Ways from Fall 2010 to Spring 2011.  Her first solo museum show The Empathics was on view at the Montclair Art Museum in the Fall of 2012.  Her work will also be included in group exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the MCA San Diego in the summer of 2013. She is currently an artist in residence at the Simon Center for Physics and Geometry at SUNY Stony Brook and has a solo show at Third Streaming in SoHO.


2006 Whitney Independent Study Program, Whitney Museum of American Art
2004 MFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Sculpture
2004 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
2001 BA, Brown University, Providence, RI, Visual Art & Economics, Honors in Visual Art
Artistic Awards
Artist-in-Residence, Newark Museum, NJ
Artist-in-Residence, Dieu Donne Papermill, NY
2010 NEA Access to Artistic Excellence Award, Real Art Ways
Artist-in-Residence, VAN, National Performance Network
Puffin Foundation, Long Island, NY
Fund for Creative Communities, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY
Manhattan Community Arts Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY
Visiting Artist, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Harvestworks, New Works Residency, New York, NY
Artist in the Market Place, Bronx Museum
The Franklin Furnace Fund Grant for Performance Art
Artist-in-Residence, Studio Museum in Harlem
NYFA Fellowship - Cross-Disciplinary/Performance
Art Matters Grant - travel to Japan for the study of performance and craft traditions
Fulbright IIE Grant: Brazilian Fulbright Commission - for the study of performance and craft traditions
Jerome Fellowship, Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, Minnesota
Special Opportunity Stipend, New York Foundation for the Arts
2004 Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Fellowship
School of the Art Institute MFA Fellowship
2003 World Studio Foundation Fellowship
Art Institute of Chicago Academic Incentive Scholarship
2002 World Studio Foundation Fellowship
Art Institute of Chicago Academic Incentive Scholarship
Solo/Shared Exhibitions
2012 Saya Woolfalk, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ
Saya Woolfalk, Finlnadia University, Hancock, MI
2011 No Place, Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, NJ
2010 The Institute for the Analysis of Empathy, Koppelman Gallery, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA
2009 No Place, University of Buffalo Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
2008 Saya Woolfalk: 3 Video Works, Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers, Newark, NJ
New Intuitions: Artist-In-Residence, Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, NY (three person)
2007 No Place: Wonders from that World, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
2006 Saya Woolfalk and James Fotopoulos, Momenta Art, Williamsburg, NY curated by Eric Heist
2005 Featured Artist: Heidi Cho Gallery, Scope Art Miami, Miami, FL
Jumble Patch: Transitional Love Objects, Heidi Cho Gallery, New York, NY
Trousseaux: Love Object, SubCity, Chicago, Curated by Candida Alvarez
2004 Paradise Imagined, 12x12 New Artists/New Work, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Lovescape, Zg Gallery, Chicago
Featured Artist: Richard Levy Gallery, Scope Art New York, New York, NY
Selected Group Exhibitions
2012 Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
2010 Hand+Made Contemporary: The Performative Impulse in Art, Craft and Design, Contemporary Arts Museum
Houston, curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver
The Playboy Bunny: An American Icon, The Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Transhuman Conditions, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA
2009 Super Girl, Nexus Art Place, Baltimore, MD
The Open, Deitch Studios, LIC, NY
Losing Yourself, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Back to the Garden, Deutsche Bank Art Gallery, NY, NY
More Art Less Filler II, Space 204 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
AIM 29: Living and Dreaming, Bronx Museum, Bronx, NY, curated by Micaela Giovannotti
Playing Around, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT
Making It, Deutsche Bank Art Gallery, NY, NY
2008 In Transit, Moti Hasson Gallery, NY, NY, curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud
2007 Simulasian, Asian Contemporary Art Fair, NYC, curated by Eric Shiner
Kazuo Ohno 101: Three-Week Butoh Parade, Japan Society, NYC, NY curated by Eric Shiner
Jamaica Flux, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Queens, NY
Float, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY, curated by Sara Reisman
Whitney ISP, Artists Space, New York, NY
2006 Treemendous, Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY curated by Karen Shaw
Works on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC curated by Xandra Eden
Dead of Winter, Hudson Valley Center of Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY curated by Dan Fuller
2005 Holiday Windows, Exit Art, New York, NY
Greater New York 2005, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY
Production of Escapism - a project by Rashid Johnson, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, IN
Film Festivals
2008 Ethnography of No Place, Brooklyn International Film Festival, Experimental Film Section
2009 Ritual of the Empathics, Performa09, Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, NY
2007 Coloring Book Cart featuring: The Cleaners, Kitchen Highline Block Party, The Kitchen, NY, NY
The Cleaners, Resistance and the Law: Radicalism, Extremism, Legitimacy, Co-Optation, Harvard Law
School Conference, Cambridge, MA

The Cleaners, Art Parade, Deitch Projects, NY, NY
Pessoa da Rua, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
Pessoa da Rua, galeria vermelho, São Paulo, Brazil

2005 Love Monster, Metro Color Collision, Frisbee Art Fair, Miami, FL ,curated by Julie Fishkin and Matt Lucas
Terra de Lixo, Federal University of Maranhão, Sao Luis, Maranhão, Brazil
Mardi Gras, Sculpture Space, Utica, NY
2004 One Night Stand, Performing Art Chicago, Chicago
Outdoor Sculpture
2008 Into the Trees, The Fields, Art Omi, Ghent, NY, curated by Lilly Wei
2005 Terra de Lixo, Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, Minnesota
2010 Mason Dixon Variations, Saya Woolfalk and Vadis Turner, Common Jive, The Elizabeth Foundation, NY, NY
2003 Saya Woolfalk, Flo McGarrell, Leah Meyerhoff, The Anti-Spacesuit Show, G-2 Gallery, Chicago, IL
Group Exhibitions
2010 Companion, The Elizabeth Foundation, NY, NY, curated by Marisa Jahn
2009 If I Didn’t Care: Generational Artists Discuss Cultural Histories, The Park School, Baltimore, MD, curated by Rick Delaney
2007 Yokohama Boogie: Under the Influence, ZAIM, Yokohama, Japan, curated by Koan Jeff Baysa
U Can’t Touch Dis: The New Asian Art, Zone Chelsea, New York, NY, curated by Eric Shiner
Young Sculptors Competition, Hiestand Galleries, Miami University, Oxford, OH, curated by Mary Ceruti
2006 Peace King Mother Nature, Second Gallery, South Boston, MA, curated by Rebecca Gordon
YEA! Young Emerging Artists, Westchester Arts Council, White Plains, NY
Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA 2004 and 2005 Recipient Exhibition, CUE Art Foundation, NY
The Jaundiced Eye, Scope-NY, entrance installation, curated by David Hunt
d'Afrique d'Asie, Artist Commune, Hong Kong, China
Chimaera, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, NY
National Psyche, Lab Art Space, San Francisco, CA, curated by Elliot Lessing
The Studio Visit, Exit Art, New York, NY
2005 d'Afrique d'Asie, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York, NY, curated by Koan Jeff Baysa
Working Process: a glimpse into the artist's studio practice, Zg Gallery, Chicago
Momenta Art, Nada Art Fair, Miami Beach, FL
Metro Color Collision, Frisbee Art Fair, Miami Beach, FL
Sinister, The Museum at the Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, IL, curated by Christopher Kahler
2004 Scary/Cute, Flux Factory, Queens, New York, curated by Jean Barberis
Social Seduction, The Betty Rymer Gallery, Chicago
The Chicago 11, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL, curated by Terrence Hanum
Richard Levy Gallery, Scope Art LA, Los Angeles, CA
MFA Thesis Exhibition, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Spring Fever, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM
Unlucky in Love, School of the Art Institute Performance Event, Chicago
2003 MFA 2003, New American Painting, Boston, MA, curated by Lawrence Rinder
As Small As Possible, Zg Gallery, Chicago
December Group Show, G-2 Gallery, Chicago
Extension, Student Union Gallery, Chicago
November Group Show, G-2 Gallery, Chicago
Remark/Remarket, 1926 Halsted Gallery, Chicago
Project Room: Richard Levy Gallery, Scope Art LA, Los Angeles, CA
The Anti-Spacesuit Show, Gallery 2, Chicago
Art Hotel 2003, Embassy Suites, Chicago
Group Exhibition, 2003, Stray Show, Chicago
Artwindows 2003, G'Bani, Chicago
Kink or Pink, Dollhouse Gallery, Chicago
Fieldwork; in honor of national women’s history month, 1926 Halsted, Chicago
2002 National Juried Exhibition, Ceres Gallery, New York
Curator: Charlotta Kotik, Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum
unfoldingobject: critical selections. Miranda Fine Arts & Henaine Fine Art, Port Chester, NY
EA50: HEREart’s 6th Annual Emerging Artists Show, HEREart, New York
Emerging Artists, The Hell's Kitchen Show, New York
Exhibition to Benefit Breast Cancer Research, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York
2001 Annual Group Exhibition, The Museum at F.I.T., New York
Juried Exhibition, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence
1998  Sarah Doyle Woman's Center, Providence
Slide Registries
  The Drawing Center, Viewing Program, New York
Momenta Art, Williamsburg, NY
Percent for Art, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York

Residency Programs

  Artist-in-Residence 2005, Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY
Artist-in-Residence 2005, Sculpture Space, Utica, NY
Artist-in-Residence 2004, Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY


Visiting Artist
2010 Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2009 panel member, Art and Craft: Closing the Gaps, Transformations: New Directions in Black Art, 3rd Annual African American Art Conference, Center for Race and Culture, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), MD, organized by Lowery Stokes Sims

Art Department, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Art Department, Alfred University, Alfred, NY


panel member, Variations: Installations and Performance Art, International Sculpture Center Crossroads
Cincinnati 2006, Cincinnati, OH
Art Department, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL
Art Department, University of Tennessee, TN


Visual Art Department, Brown University, Providence, RI
Art Department, Minnesota College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN
Art Department, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Sculpture Department, Pratt at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY
Sculpture Department, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Teaching Experience
2007 Performance Workshop, Alfred University, Alfred, NY
2006 Thesis Project Advisor for a graduating senior at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MN
Workshop, More Art, NYC
2005 Workshop, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, NYC
Workshop, Flux Factory, NYC
Workshop, Pratt at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY
2003 Teaching Assistant, School of the Art Institute of Chicago First Year Program: 3D
Teaching Assistant, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Art History Department: African Cinema
Artist/ Educator, Architreasures, worked with teenagers to produce public art
2002 Artist/Site Leader, Publicolor, painted and revitalized two New York City public schools with local teens
  Ethnography of No Place discussed and represented in Artist Presentations, emisferica, New York University, volume 5.2, Fall 2008. (This online presentation includes the essay Body, Mind, Culture: Woolfalk and Lears’s Ethnography of No Place by Rael Jero Salley, PhD candidate, University of Chicago)
Beckwith, Naomi, “You Can Get There From Here: Sensation as a Space for Critique in Saya Woolfalk’s Utopian Project,” Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art, Spring 2010, Issue 25, Pages
Banerjee, Debra “YEA!: a shout-out for young emerging artists,” The Scarsdale Inquirer, Scarsdale, NY, June 16, 2006: p 17
Caruth, Nicole, “A Look into the Future with Saya Woolfalk,” Art 21 Blog, Fall 2009
Chan, Tim “Profile: Visual Artist – Saya Woolfalk,” Theme Magazine, Feb/March 2008. Issue 13. p 12 – 13.
Dabkowski, Colin “Woolfalk sculptures, Ani Hoover paintings at UB gallery Exhibits cast a different hue on reality” The Buffalo News, March 7, 2009, Entertainment
Firmin, Sandra, “Saya Woolfalk: No Place,” University at Buffalo Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, catalogue
Fishkin, Julie “Greater NY 2005,” Art Fairs International, New York, NY (May/June 2005) pictured on cover
Gardner, James “They’re unknown, under 30 and from New York,” New York Post, NY, NY, March 21, 2005
Genocchio, Benjamin “Works From New Talent Seeking a Boldface Name,” New York Times, March 8, 2009, pNJ10
Gladstone, Valerie “Float' Drifts Into Socrates Sculpture Park,” NY Sun, NY, NY August 24, 2007
Goddu, Jean Q. “Artists explore the world through playful means,” Chicago Tribune, March 12 2004. (picture)
Golden, Thelma “A Harlem Portfolio Part II,” Interview Magazine, March 2008: p 170 (picture)
Gopnik, Blake “At PS1 Few Artists are Ready to Graduate,” Washington Post, Washington, DC, May 15, 2005
Hernandez, Jorge “Artist’s work investigates issues of racial identity,” Observer Dispatch, Utica, NY, 2/15/05 (picture)
Hinkel, Joanne “Saya Woolfalk’s Material World,”, 1/22/07
Kimmelman, Michael "Youth and the Market: Love at First Sight," The New York Times online, NY, 3/18/05. slideshow (picture)
Mast, Audrey M. “Saya Woolfalk: No Place: Wonders from that World,”, 1/24/07
McKahill, Timothy “Young Artists: Saya Woolfalk,” W Magazine, November 2008, The Art Issue, p 204 (picture)
McQuaid, Kate “At Second Gallery A Colorful Combination of Culture and Nature,” Boston Globe, Boston, MA, October 5, 2006
Noonan, Kate, “The Missing: Group Show of Narrative Works Only Reveals Parts of Their Stories,” Baltimore City Paper, January 14, 2009
Patterson, Sunita Performing Desire, performance still in Fiberarts Magazine, vol. 30, no. 2 (Sept/Oct 2003): p 48
Sandler, Carrie “Short and Sweet,” UR Chicago, September 16, 2004. p 17 (picture/interview)
Sandler, Carrie “Pop Goes the World,” UR Chicago, March 11, 2004. p 19
Shiner, Eric C. “Culture Constructs,” New Intuitions, Studio Museum in Harlem, p 10 – 12 catalogue
Smith, Roberta “A Hot Conceptualist Finds the Secret of Skin,” New York Times, September 4, 2008. p (picture)
STUDIO, Magazine of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Spring 2007, The Lighthouse
Tanguy, Sarah. “The Harmonics of Dislocation, Saya Woolfalk” Sculpture Magazine, March 2010
Workman, Michael “Breakout Artists: Chicago’s Next Generation of Image Makers,” New City, May 6, 2004. p 1 (picture)
Workman, Michael “Love Toys,” New City, March 18, 2004. p 16
Uovo Magazine, Drawing Issue 2005 p 204-229
  “I Wonder as I Wander: An Interview with Candida Alvarez,” Artists in Conversation, Studio Magazine, Fall 2008
“Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Birth of Antagonistic Difference,” Artists in Conversation, Studio Magazine, Spring 2008
“The Vernacular in Contemporary Art: Mobilizing the Utopian Imagination,” essay in, July 2007
“Karmen Gei: Political Sex Icon,” essay in
“Paragon Girls: A Taste of Perfection,” essay in RISD/Brown Independent (newspaper), Providence, RI
“Sexual Objects,” essay in

Deutsche Bank, NY
Studio Museum in Harlem
JP Morgan Chase, NY
Tufts University, Medford MA

Exhibited with these artists
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curated at these venues
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