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Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Marianne Vitale

February 29 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


121 Hanes Art Center

Marianne Vitale (b. 1973) is an artist living and working in New York City. She graduated with a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY (1996). Her practice combines mediums with a focus on sculpture. She has been described as a surveyor, under-taker, and soothsayer of hard truths, conveyed poetically. Vitale’s work was recently celebrated as part of the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2022, with a large-scale outdoor installation Bottles and Bridges: Advances in Collective Obliteration.

Vitale creates monuments from the spectres of American industrial expansion: bridges, railroad tracks, freight train engines, dams, factories, outhouses – in an excoriating critique of the contemporary collapse of Western society. She burns, breaks, bruises, and builds anew, forcing us to interrogate our histories through the objects we abandon in the name of progress.

Vitale’s artworks are immense, brutal, and unapologetic. For fifteen years, she has been burning bridges, first constructing scale models of bridges found across North America in her studio, then taking them outdoors to burn them, eventually exhibiting their charred skeletons. In a 2019 performance, she torched a bridge atop a snow-covered mountain in Gstaad, Switzerland. Thought Field (2016) comprised 90 factory-length railroad tracks, weighing over 60 tons, creating an imposing landscape with a nod to the codes of Minimalism. During a residency in Savenay, France, which similarly redeployed the detritus of transport into a constellation of sculptures, resulting in a permanent outdoor installation set at the site of a WWI American-made dam, entitled The World, the Flesh and the Devil (2019).

For the 2010 Whitney Biennale, Vitale exhibited the video Patron. In 2013, The Contemporary Austin’s inaugural exhibition featured two solo installations, including Burned Bridge Junction and Common Crossings. Vitale’s ongoing sculptural series of Burned Bridges has been part of several solo gallery and museum exhibitions including What I Need To Do Is Lighten The Fuck Up About A Lot Of Shit at Zach Feuer Gallery, New York; Bright Dark Future at Le Confort Moderne, France; If You Expect To Rate As A Gentleman Do Not Expectorate On the Floor at Unge Kunstneres Samfund, Norway; Lost Marbles at Le Marbrerie, Montreuil; and Huey, Dewey and Louie at Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria. For the Performa ’13 Biennial, Vitale was commissioned to produce The Missing Book of Spurs, a performance set in a saloon/brothel/weather station. From April 2014 through March 2015, Vitale’s outdoor public exhibition Common Crossings was presented on the High Line in New York City.

Vitale’s work has been exhibited throughout New York including with The Whitney Museum of American Art; The High Line; The Brooklyn Museum; The Journal Gallery; White Columns; Karma; Zach Feuer Gallery; The Sculpture Center; Invisible-Exports; The Elaine de Kooning House, East Hampton; and Performa. Across the United States at The Contemporary Austin, Texas; Venus Over Los Angeles; Various Small Fires; San Francisco Art Institute, California; and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Overseas presentations include Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin; Le Confort Moderne and Mosquito Coast, France; UKS, Oslo; Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria; Kling & Bang, Iceland; Saatchi Gallery, London. Contemporary Art Center of Vilnius, Lithuania. Recent publications include The World, The Flesh and the Devil, American Art Catalogues, NY; From Here to Nowhere, Karma, NY; and Train Wreck, Kitto San, NY.

An endowment established in 1983 through the generosity of Nancy and Robin Hanes supports the Art Department’s Visiting Artist Series. This important program brings both established and emerging artists to campus to discuss their work in public lectures and to offer individual critiques to our M.F.A. students. The Hanes Visiting Artist series greatly enriches both our academic programs and our outreach to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.

A weeknight or daytime permit is now required after 5:00pm on weekdays. There is no permit required from 5:00pm Friday through 7:30am Monday. A $1.00 one-night pass is available in selected lots. More information can be found HERE.

Artist website:
Departmental website:

Contact: Martín Wannam,

Image: Marianne Vitale, How’m I Doin’?, 2016, wood, paint, fishing line, dimensions variable


February 29
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


UNC-CH Art and Art History
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Hanes Art Center
121 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill, 27514
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