About

Statement

Dan Nelson is a multi-disciplinary artist who plays with language and signifiers to look at how humans create meaning and social structures.

As most people do, he lives in cultural, political, linguistic, and economic systems that he didn’t invent but which he can influence. In his art practice, he tries to exercise freedom and realize potential—while fostering human connection—by using, subverting, and reinventing the language and signs that are the extensions of those systems. His work often uses humor and the absurd to short-circuit rationality so that forms and ideas can be experienced and felt anew.

A good example of his diverse practice is “The Corporation”. It explored corporate culture and aesthetics in a wide-ranging exhibition with over 120 works of video, photography, sound art, propaganda posters, sculptures, interactive pieces, t-shirts, and paintings. A 64-page book includes photographs taken by the artist in the offices and warehouses of his day job, haiku he wrote during meetings, digital collages, office humor, and more.

CV

Download a PDF of this CV

 

Selected Projects, Publications, & Exhibitions

 

2021

“Your Name Here” artist book [forthcoming in Jan.]
“Boron VII”, audio recording (as Boron), Polyfonal Records.

2020

“The Lost Art of Teenage Boredom” artist book
“What I Did/Do, On the Clock, Now/Then/Forever in the Eternal Return of Work” artist book
“Oddballs” artist book
Untitled installation, 18 Albany Contemporary, Oakland, Calif. (solo)

2019

Imperial Services residency, ProArts Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
“Hands & Pants”, [contributor] artist book of a collaborative project led by John Casey, curated and designed by Margaret Tedesco.
“The Teenage Notebooks of Morton Feldman”, in “Art Criticism & Other Short Stories”, [contributor] ed. Helen Reed, Blank Cheque Press.
Hands & Pants, Faultline, Oakland, Calif.
Put-Ons, NIAD Art Center, Richmond, Calif. (solo)
Daddy’s Books, The Drury Gallery at Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vt.

2018

Future Perfect, Plexus Projects, Brooklyn, NY
Imagining Post-Capitalism, ProArts Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
Death Treat catalog [co-author], Death Treat Records.

2017-present

“Your Name Here, Vol. 2”, a participatory web and print art project collecting invented band names.

2017

The Corporation, The Compound Gallery, Emeryville, Calif. (solo)
The Corporation“, [author] artist book, Imperial Services Publications.
“Mirages” (as Boron and Argon), audio recording, Tymbal Tapes.
Turing’s Echo, ProArts Gallery, Oakland, Calif.

2009-2016

“Your Name Here, Vol. 1”, a participatory web and print art project collecting invented band names.

2015-2019

Custom Flotilla, lifestyle brand: t-shirts, posters, and stickers.

2015

Hands and Pants VI, Faultline Art Space, Oakland, Calif.
Selections from the Collection of Dan Nelson and Lexa Walsh, Wall Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
The Pleasure Class, “Sensual Passport”, audio recording, Plink Plonk.

2014

“Argon II” (as Argon), audio recording.
Hands and Pants V, MOCO Gallery, Oakland, Calif.

2013

“The Teenage Notebooks of Morton Feldman”, in “Art Criticism & Other Short Stories”, ed. Helen Reed.
Hands and Pants IV, 63 Bluxome Street Gallery, SF, Calif.

2012

Origins and Futures, public intervention, Portland, OR (solo)
“The Beige Album”, audio recording (as Boron), Field Hymns.

2011

Tall Tales: Collaborative Projects, Swarm Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
“Aria Statica”, audio recording (as Boron), Field Hymns.

2010

The Origin and Future of the Blood, Swee[t]art Drawing Gallery, Oakland, Calif. (solo)
“Decrresscenndo”, audio recording (as Boron), Field Hymns.

2009-2017

Make an Artist a Millionaire, an effort to raise one million dollars.

2009

Regime Change, Swarm Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
From One Hand to One Mind to One Hand to Your Mind, Los Medanos College Art Gallery, Pittsburg, Calif.
object oriented, Compound Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
Heavy Hitters, Cricket Engine Gallery, Oakland, Calif.

2008

Relay, The LAB, San Francisco, Calif.
140 Ways to Make a Cassette Unlistenable, The LAB, San Francisco, Calif. (solo)
Characteristics, Zza’s Enoteca, Oakland, Calif. (solo)
The LAB’s Annual Fixed Price Art Sale, The LAB, San Francisco, Calif.

2007

24 Illustrations for Schubert’s “Winter Journey”, Cricket Engine, Oakland, Calif. (solo)
Glacial Flowers in Colloidal Suspension or The Impossibility of Progress or Day After Snow, Keys That Fit, Oakland, Calif. (solo)
ICON, Hive Gallery, Oakland, Calif.
Swee[t]art group show, Red Ink Studios, San Francisco, Calif.
Overhung 3: Well Hung, Boontling Gallery, Oakland, Calif.

2006

Some Assembly Required, The LAB, San Francisco, Calif.
Photems (as part of “Transpose” with Steven Barich), 21 Grand, Oakland, Calif. (two-person show)
anonyme zeichner 3 [anonymous drawings 3], blütenweiss, raum für kunst, Berlin, Germany.
Transpose, 21 Grand, Oakland, Calif.
Overhung 2: Hungover, Boontling Gallery, Oakland, Calif.

 

Press

 
“Oddballs” review, Newcity Art.
“Oddballs” review by Lori Waxman, 60 Word Minimum.
Word Magazine UK, “AKMB” interview/review.
GQ UK, “AKMB” review, Sept. 2009
East Bay Express, cover story about Make an Artist a Millionaire, June 3, 2009.
Chico News & Review, “AKMB” review, Jan. 15, 2009.
“All Known Metal Bands”, book, McSweeney’s.
SF Bay Guardian blog, Relay show review, Nov. 4, 2008.
SF Bay Guardian, Review of 140 Ways show at the LAB, Nov. 4, 2008.
Chicago Reader, “Obsessive Completism is Totally Metal,” Sept. 10, 2008.
“AKMB” picked as one of Amazon.com’s Best of the Year So Far: Hidden Gems, 2008.
Giant Robot, “AKMB” review, July, 2008.
SFBG, “AKMB” SF release party in weekly picks, July 30, 2008.
Oakbook magazine, interview about “AKMB”, July, 2008.
7×7 magazine, June, 2008.
Rolling Stone, “AKMB” makes #4 in the weekly Top Ten, May 29, 2008.
SF Chronicle, review of Echoes of Innocence, April 15, 2008.
San Francisco Chronicle, 96 Hours section, 24 Illustrations for Schubert’s “Winter Journey” interview and show preview, Aug. 30, 2007.
“All Known Metal Bands – R” [author], The Believer magazine, June/July 2007.

 

Grants & Awards

 

2020

Safety Net Fund grant

2009

“AKMB” one of the winners of the AIGA’s (American Institute of Graphic Art) 50 Books/50 Covers award.

2008

“AKMB” picked as one of Amazon.com’s Best of the Year So Far: Hidden Gems.

“AKMB” picked by Amazon.com as one of Top 10 Editors’ Picks for Best Cover Design.

 

Collections

Morrison Library, University of California, Berkeley

AIGA Design Archives at the Denver Art Museum

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University

 

Education

2020: The Alternative Art School, studies with Mel Chin, Yael Bartana, and Nato Thompson.
BA liberal arts, St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland.