Federal Project 2 offers a diverse group of American artists a chance to reflect upon and expand American art and storytelling, ultimately honing in on the spirit and identity that still defines this country.
Featuring: Wendy Red Star, Tommy Kha, Mark Steinmetz, Sofia Valiente, Damon Davis, Barry Stone, Leanne Shapton, Shane Lavalette
In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began one of the most iconic artistic endeavors of the 20th century—the Works Project Administration, or WPA. In a program called Federal Project Number One, thousands of artists fanned across the country to create photographs, paintings, murals, plays, music, all in the service of documenting life in America during a turning point in American history.
We are at another turning point in America. Enter Federal Project No. 2.
Over the course of 2018, and into 2019, Topic Studios has commissioned 50 artists from across the United States to explore and showcase the diversity of contemporary life in America. Federal Project No. 2 will consist of artistic pairings, where we ask world-class photographers, visual artists, musicians, etcetera, to pick a work from the vast WPA archives that speaks to them, and then make new work in response to it.
Our goal is not unlike the first Federal Project: to find ways to showcase the richness of American life, seen through the eyes of American creators. While we can’t recreate the scope of the publicly funded work, we hope to retain some of its spirit.
Damon Davis is an interdisciplinary artist whose vast scope of work reveals his unbridled vision and masterful ability to create timely, candid moments through illustration, painting, printmaking, music, film, and public art.
Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance.
Leanne Shapton is an author, artist and publisher based in New York City. She is the co-founder, with photographer Jason Fulford, of J&L Books, an internationally-distributed not-for-profit imprint specializing in art and photography books.
Mark Steinmetz is an established American photographer known for his traditional approach to filmmaking and reliance of chance-photography. Working in series, he has concentrated on such subjects as kids and teenagers, small American towns, summer camp, schoolteachers, and street scenes in Paris and various Italian cities.
Topic Studios is an ambitious new entertainment and storytelling studio from First Look Media, dedicated to working with creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award-winning films, such as Spotlight, to television, audio and digital, we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on stories of consequence. On Topic.com, we focus our efforts on visual and audio stories programmed around monthly themes. Our approach—challenging, compelling and unconventional—reflects our commitment to discovering and amplifying independent new voices, and supporting established ones.