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Sandrine Schaefer

Sandrine Schaefer
Adjunct Professor

Using a site-sensitive approach, Schaefer works in the medium of live action to explore the parameters and potential of time in relation to corporeality. Her work often presents as durational performance art installations that intend to break traditional viewing behaviors by de-privileging sight as the primary sense to engage the work; rewarding the curious; and nurturing tendencies towards active witnessing. Investigating the connection between cumulative action and endurance, her work addresses the shared human experience of navigating the world through the vehicle of a body, offers pause for contemplation, and is inspired by the promise of collaborative imagination.

Time is treated as an intentional context in the work, rather than a consequence of working in a performative medium. Schaefer often makes work in non-art designated spaces. Through the use of modest actions and attempted stillness, she explores the tension that erupts in these sites due to the collision of varied perceptions of time. By creating works reliant on varied points of view and require viewers to swarm and disseminate, she also asks how a site can be expanded through acts of witnessing. 

Inspired to find forms of documenting and archiving that are as radical as the medium of performance art itself, Schaefer has developed practices in curation, archiving, and writing alongside my studio work. She is the co-founder of The Present Tense, an action-art initiative that produces and archives performance art events, festivals, and exchanges in transient spaces. Since 2005, The Present Tense has produced and collaborated on more than 26 live art festivals, exhibitions, and co-founded the award winning gallery, MEME in Cambridge, MA. Schaefer is also a member of the experimental artist group and non-profit presenting organization, Mobius (est. 1977). Independently and through The Present Tense and Mobius, she has created opportunities for hundreds of contemporary artists at various stages in their careers to share their work.

MFA - The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; BFA - Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Professional Experience: 

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2017 - VIVA! Art Action, International Performance Art Biennial, Montreal, Canada, QC
  • 2017 - Torpor, site-specific work made during Banff Research in Culture: The Year 2067, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff, Alberta, Canada
  • 2017 - Stand Up, Gallery Kayafas, Boston, MA
  • 2017 - Concrete Actions, Boston City Hall, Boston, MA
  • 2016 - [image here] Film and Visual Studies Conference and Exhibition, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • 2016 - Silent Screens, UNI Gallery, University of Northern Iowa
  • 2015 - Pace Investigations No. 2, solo exhibition, Mobius, Boston, MA
  • 2015 - International Performance Art Festival, Salt Lake City, UT
  • 2015 - Foster Prize Exhibition, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
  • 2015 - Boston Does Boston, Proof Gallery, Boston, MA
  • 2014 - Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Chicago, IL 
  • 2014 - Record & Ghost; Performance & Writing Creative Summit, curated by Panoply Lab and INCIDENT Magazine, Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2014 - The Lightning Speed of the Present, 808 Gallery, Boston University, Boston, MA
  • 2013 - Odd Spaces, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • 2018 - Contributing Writer, With the Others, Responding to Site: The Performance Work of Marilyn Arsem, Intellect Press
  • 2018 - Curator, Insider/Outsider II, Distillery Gallery, Boston, MA
  • 2015 - Co-Convener, [Female] Bodies + Borders [of Femininity, Collectivities in TransMigration: Animating Bodies Across Borders, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and the Hemi Graduate Student Initiative, The University of Texas, Austin, TX
  • 2015 - "ICA Foster Prize show emphasizes action and flux," Cate McQuaid's review of Sandrine's work published in The Boston Globe 
  • 2015 - Panelist, “Betwixt and Between: Performance Art and The Liminal Moment” Performance Philosophy Conference, “What can Performance Philosophy Do?” The University of Chicago, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and The Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
  • 2014 - Writer and Panel Moderator, 2nd International Venice Performance Art Week, Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy
  • 2014 - Curator, ACCUMULATION (phase 2), 808 Gallery, Boston University, Boston, MA
  • 2013-2014 - Contributing Writer, Art New England, online journal and magazine
  • 2007-2013 - Contributing Writer, Big Red & Shiny Online Arts Journal
  • 2013 - Discourse Participant, Rapid Pulse International Festival of Performance Art, Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • 2013 Panelist, Odd Spaces Panel Discussion, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Awards and Honors

  • 2017 - Kitchen Award, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff, Alberta, Canada
  • 2017 - Live Arts Boston, The Boston Foundation, Boston, MA, 2017 
  • 2016-17 - Edes Semi-Finalist, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL
  • 2015 - Brother Thomas Fellowship, Boston Foundation, Boston, MA
  • 2015 - James and Audrey Foster Prize, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
  • 2012 - Tanne Foundation Award for artistic excellence
  • 2011 - SMFA Traveling Fellow, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA
  • 2010 - People’s Choice Award, MEME, People’s Choice Award for Best Gallery in Boston, Boston Phoenix, Boston, MA
  • 2007-2009 - Berwick Incubator Program, for the production of The Present Tense Archive Project, Boston, MA
  • 2008 - LEF Contemporary Art Fund, for the production of Contaminate 3, Boston, MA USA

Collections and Affiliations

  • Artist Member, Mobius Inc. 
  • Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston Artist Advisory Council
  • Represented by Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • Co-Founder, The Present Tense Live Art Initiative and Archive