Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to Associate Professor of Art Chris E. Vargas
On April 8, 2020, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of a Guggenheim Fellowship to Chris E. Vargas, Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Art History. Vargas is part of a diverse group of 175 writers, scholars, artists, and scientists to receive a 2020 Fellowship. The 2020 Fellows were drawn from 53 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 78 different academic institutions, 31 states and the District of Columbia, and 2 Canadian provinces.
Chris E. Vargas is a video maker and interdisciplinary artist. Through humor and performance, his work explores the complex ways queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within arts institutions and popular culture. Vargas is the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a conceptual arts & hirstory institution that engages critically with existing museum practices while also highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape. MOTHA has created exhibitions at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Henry Art Gallery, the New Museum, and the Oakland Museum of California, and Vargas is now at work on a MOTHA book project entitled “Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects.” Vargas holds an MFA from the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley (2011) and a BA from the Film & Digital Media department at UC Santa Cruz (2006). In 2016, he was the recipient of a Creative Capital award in the Emerging Fields category for “Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects.”