Paul Vanouse is a Professor of Art and Founding Director of the Coalesce Center for Biological Art at the University at Buffalo. A renowned media artist, his honors include a 2006 Creative Capital grant and the 2019 Golden Nica at PRIX Ars Electronica. Since the 1990s, his projects have foregrounded the social consequences of new technologies. His most recent works include genetic experiments that examine his own Jamaican-American parentage to undermine scientific constructions of race.
Stemming from a background in digital and electronic media, Vanouse’s bio- media artwork employs molecular biology techniques to challenge entrenched notions of individual, racial, and national identity. Interdisciplinarity and impassioned amateurism guide his art practice. His projects have been exhibited in over 25 countries and widely across the US. Venues have included: New Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Carnegie Museum, Andy Warhol Museum, Walker Art Center, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Louvre in Paris, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin, Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie in Karlsrhue, Centre de Cultura Contemporania in Barcelona, and TePapa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand.
Recent large-scale solo exhibitions include: Burchfield-Penny Art Gallery in Buffalo (2019), Beall Center at UC Irvine, California (2013), Muffathalle in Munich (2012), Kapelica Gallery in Ljubljana (2011), and Schering Foundation in Berlin (2011). In 2021, he co-curated, with Tina Rivers Rian, the international exhibition “Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art,” at the Albright Knox Art Gallery at Northland, in Buffalo, NY. Vanouse’s projects have been discussed in journals including: Art Journal, Art News, Art Papers, Flash Art International, Kunst Forum, Brooklyn Rail, Leonardo, Science, New Scientist, New Art Examiner, New York Times, LA Times, and numerous academic books on art and technology.
Vanouse’s projects have been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (2019), Rockefeller Foundation, Renew Media Fellowship (2008), Creative Capital Foundation Fellowship (2006), New York State Council on the Arts project grants (2000, 2005), New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (2002), Pennsylvania Council on the Arts project grants (94, 95, 98), PCA Fellowship (98), National Science Foundation (1997). His awards include a Golden Nica and two and Awards of Distinction at Prix ARS Electronica (2019, 2013, 2010) in Linz, Austria, and two second prizes at Vida, Art and Artificial Life competition (2002, 2011), in Madrid.
For nearly twenty years, Vanouse has been specifically concerned with forcing the arcane codes of scientific communication into a broader cultural language. Projects such as “Latent Figure Protocol”, “Ocular Revision” and “Suspect Inversion Center” use molecular biology techniques to challenge “genome-hype” and to confront issues surrounding DNA fingerprinting. His most recent project, “Labor” (2019), is a scent-based bio-media installation which produces the scent of human sweat—but without humans. Vanouse holds a BFA from the University at Buffalo (1990) and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University (1996). Vanouse is founding director of the Coalesce Center for Biological Art, a key facet of the Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence at UB.