Irene Hsiao

2020–2021 Artist In Residence

The Artist in Residence program was developed by the Public Practice team during the disruptive year of 2020 in response to an urgent need to connect with artists, art, and the public during the pandemic. Through this program we invite innovative Chicago artists to create new works inspired by our exhibitions to rethink the Smart Museum’s commitment to radical hospitality and close engagement with our public. Our first Artist in Residence is Irene Hsiao, who creates dance and performance through object-driven inquiry with museum spaces, exhibitions, and artworks, a process she first developed at the Smart.

As the inaugural Artist in Residence at the Smart Museum of Art, she will create new works inspired by 2020 and 2021 exhibitions. Irene Hsiao and these projects are supported by the 2020 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist program.


Irene Hsiao first created site-specific and object-focused work as a choreographer for Landscape in Metamorphosis, directed by composer Yao Chen, in response to Bingyi Huang's monumental ink painting Cascade, installed in the Smart Museum lobby in 2011. Since that time, she has continued to develop dances with visual art in museums and public spaces, a practice that includes interaction with visual artworks and experimental engagement with artists, institutions, and the public. Her work at the Smart includes site-specific durational improvisation, solo theatrical dances, video studies, and virtual performances inspired by exhibitions and artworks including Monster Roster: Existentialist Art in Postwar Chicago (2016), Emmanuel Pratt's Radical (Re)Constructions (2018), Virginio Ferrari's Dialogo (2018), Tang Chang: The Painting That Is Painted With Poetry Is Profoundly Beautiful (2018), The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China (2020), and Lust, Love, and Loss in Renaissance Europe (2021).

Top: Irene Hsiao & Bravais Lattice, Vessel (still), 2021. Artwork: Giovan Gioseffo dal Sole, Judith with the Head of Holofernes (detail), c. 1695, Oil on canvas.