Daniel Bejar is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY.
Bejar is a 2015 fellow in Interdisciplinary Work from the New York Foundation for the Arts and is currently a 2016-17 Artist-in-Residence in the Mana Residencies program at Mana Contemporary, and participating in The Drawing Center's 2016-17 Open Sessions Program. He is also a 2014 recipient of a Franklin Furnace Grant, and 2013 recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Visual Arts Grant.
Bejar's work has been featured in publications such as the New Yorker, Harpers Bazaar HK, Magazine B, and Hyperallergic, among others.
His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and was recently exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum's Crossing Brooklyn exhibition. Additional exhibition venues include Espai d'art Contemporani de Castello, Spain; El Museo Del Barrio, NY; SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; Georgia State University, GA; Artnews Projects, Berlin, Germany; and The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY. Bejar is a MFA sculpture recipient from the State University of New York at New Paltz, NY and, received his BFA from Ringling College of Art & Design, Sarasota, FL.
My work considers and critiques the representation of history, place, and the self within the structures of power encompassing our physical and digital worlds. Through forms of performance and intervention I insert myself and my work into public sites and systems such as Googles search engines, Google Maps, protest rallies at Republican National conventions, and a no-fly zone over the Super Bowl in New Jersey to construct new narratives in the public realm. In doing so, my work unearths a space where the public is challenged to question the familiar, and envision alternative realities and histories.
Working project to project, my performance-based, interventionist practice manifests in different forms including documentation, photography, video, text, installation, sculpture, and web-based media.
Focusing on the roles that history, identity and place play in the construction of systemic power, my projects critique, question and reveal the politics of identity and authorship in todays Internet age. In Operation Guest the son of the Muammar Gaddafi; Saadi Gaddafi assumed my name as a pseudonym in a failed escape from Niger, Africa to La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Mexico after the 2011 Libyan Revolution. The project realizes his failed exotic exile through documented site-specific performances in the safe houses, beaches and restaurants in which Saadi was to spend the rest of his days in. The images from the performances are subsequently uploaded to the public sphere of the Internet where they populate Google’s Image Search results for the search term: Daniel Bejar Hanan. In the project Peekskill, NY I explore the politics of capitalism through a meteorite’s trajectory. In a site-specific performance, I launched a fragment of the Peekskill meteorite purchased on eBay, back into space on October 9th, 2015 by way of a weather balloon. Also onboard were two digital cameras documenting the meteorites journey back into space. Reaching the edge of space, at an altitude of 100,000 feet the weather balloon burst and, again the meteorite crashed back to Earth. Attempting to free it from the gravitational and market forces imposed here on Earth, the Peekskill meteorite now begins the next chapter in its 4.4 billion-year old trajectory as an artwork in the art market. And in my ongoing project Rec-elections I appropriate historical campaign posters from past Presidential campaigns and re-insert them back into the context of presidential elections through site-specific performances, interventions, and prints. The project reveals a romanticized American myth that is built on ideas of manifest destiny and which has come to be solidified in cultural memory.
It’s projects such as these, where history is brushed against the grain, and opportunities in the public sphere are seized to provoke unresolved histories, ask critical questions and affect social change in the Information Age.