The Autotopographers

March 24, 2019 — September 15, 2019

Beatriz Cortez, The Lakota Porch: A Time Traveler, 2017; steel; 204 x 144 x 96 in. Courtesy of the Orange County Museum of Art. Photo: Chris Bliss.

Sarah Braman, Badger Den (Let's read together), 2017; wood, truck cap, glass, and books; 88 x 108 x 99 in. Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

Iris Yirei Hu, Lessons from Wise Woman (Tongva Elder Julia Bogany), Grandmother Oak Tree, and Hands (detail), 2018; copy of vintage Union Pacific Railroad postcard in found frame, pine cone branch made by David Bell, found stone, handmade mahogany table on Taiwanese Hakka floral print quilt. Photo: Ruben Diaz.

Joianne Bittle, Preserving Mass Extinction, 2010-2011; oil painting on three panels, charcoal, dry pigments, sand, plaster, papier mache, styrofoam, iron pyrite, wood, steel, glass mirrors, liquid resin, sharks teeth, fluorescent light, and external car battery; 82 x 81 x 144 in. Photo: Nicholas Knight.

Andy Coolquitt, Studio Art, Period Room installation view at Artpace, San Antonio, TX, 2016. Photo: Adam Schrieber.

Benjamin Larose, Snowglobes, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Becky Suss, Bedroom with Peacock Feathers, 2017; oil on canvas; 72 x 84 in. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Azikiwe Mohammed, Jimmyʼs Thrift of New Davonhaime (installation view at The Ace Hotel Chicago), 2018. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Yoshie Sakai, KOKO's Love: About Yuki installation view, 2014; four-channel mixed media video installation. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Ray Yoshidaʼs Museum of Extraordinary Values installation view at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 2013. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of the Raymond K. Yoshida Living Trust and Kohler Foundation Inc.


In a 1995 essay, art historian Jennifer A. González coined the term “autotopography” to articulate the ways in which aspects of biography can be revealed in the creation of one’s environment. The personal objects comprising an autotopography are extensions of the maker’s self, of life events and cultural identity. González writes “...just as a written autobiography is a series of narrated of events, fantasies and identification, so too an autotopography forms a spatial representation of important relations and past events.” For González, an autotopography can exist in many forms, as “a careful, visual arrangement of mementos and heirlooms, on the one hand, and a jumbled, hidden assembly of dusty and unkempt objects, on the other, but both can constitute a material memory landscape.”

Selected for their compelling ability to blend autobiography, history, and contemporary art practices, the artists participating in the exhibition will use a variety of methodologies and materials to explore aspects of the self. Included will be 2-D and 3-D works by Joianne Bittle, Sarah Braman, Andy Coolquitt, Beatriz Cortez, iris yirei hu, Benjamin LaRose, Azikiwe Mohammed, Yoshie Sakai, Becky Suss, and Ray Yoshida.

The Autotopographers will include contemplations of memory, history, and the myriad of ways we construct a “self.”