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Joel Kuennen (b. 1984) is an artist, critic, curator, and editor. They received an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2010). Their art practice investigates human relationships to the Earth as a means of understanding social constructs that can interrupt the extractive and exploitative ways in which we engage with this planet. Kuennen's site-specific land art interventions use autochthonous clay to create artifacts that become anthromes to help visitors consider our place in deep time — the complex matrix of past, present, and future. Working with the earth, with clay, means working with and through time. Considering deep time has allowed them to expand out and up to include celestial frames into their work with a special interest in habitable exoplanets as humanity turns from a colonized Earth to the perceived terra nullius of other bodies. Their research and practice generally navigate abiogenesis, assembly theory, exoplanets, space colonialism, new materials, crystal epitaxy, symbiosis, and geology. They have exhibited in the United States of America, Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, and France and have permanent installations in the US and Europe.

Kuennen has been publishing criticism on emerging artists for over 10 years. Their written work focuses on the intersection of technology, identity, and society. Kuennen participated in the Arts Writers Grant, AICA/USA Arts Writing Workshop in 2011 where they were mentored by Artnet editor Walter Robinson. They were a contributing editor for Theorizing Visual Studies (Routledge, 2012) and served as City Editor, Senior Editor, and Chief Operating Officer at ArtSlant (2012-2018). Their work has been published in Art in America, ArtSlant, Brooklyn Rail, Elephant, Frieze, Mutual Art, THE SEEN and others. Kuennen was the inaugural Critic-in-Residence at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in April, 2019.

They have curated twenty-one exhibitions, including "Strings: Data and the Self" (2018) at California Museum of Art, Thousand Oaks, CA and "Celestial FutureX" (2019) at Soft Surplus, Brooklyn, NY.

Curriculum Vitae

Riccardo Banfi Portrait of Joel Kuennen

Image by Riccardo Banfi, 2023

Sheida Soleimani Portrait of Joel Kuennen

Image by Sheida Soleimani, 2021

Tiffany Smith Portrait of Joel Kuennen

Image by Tiffany Smith, 2017