contemporary art

Heidi Neilson

United States

Heidi Neilson
Heidi Neilson
United States
June 1, 2015

Heidi Neilson is a New York-based contemporary artist, best known for her publishing-based work and various collaborative projects.

The Art of Heidi Neilson

Heidi Neilson was born in the Pacific Northwest region of Oregon, US. In 1991, she graduated with a BA in Biology from the Reed College, in Portland. Later, Neilson received her MFA in Painting from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

With degrees in both biology and painting, Heidi Neilson is an unusual and diverse artist. Her art investigates themes of weather, astronomy, cosmos, urban infrastructure, and cultural landscape of outer space. Her work is often collaborative, ranging from public projects and installations to book-publishing and prints.

Block of Alleys

The example of Heidi Neilson’s interesting and unique process of creating books is her Block of Alleys publication. Inspired by her Queens neighborhood full of small warehouses and apartment buildings, the artist made a foldout book of etchings depicting every alley in her block. Single fold of the book contains a single alley, with the buildings on each side facing one another. By unfolding the whole book, the viewer is confronted with the entire walk, composed alley after alley, as a panorama.

Heidi Neilson - A Block of Alleys, 2005, contemporary art, book
Heidi Neilson – A Block of Alleys, 2005

Atlas of Punctuation

Another example of Heidi Neilson’s unusual book publishing is her Atlas of Punctuation. The atlas represents the distribution of all end-of-sentence punctuation that Neilson traced in 14 different literary classics that convey qualities of space and scale, such as the Little Prince and One Hundred Years of Solitude. Punctuation signs from individual books are placed on a single sheet, constructing weirdly beautiful clean vector graphics. These graphics can be considered as a map of the book, in which the distribution of punctuation can be offhandedly informative, describing the books from a different perspective.

Heidi Neilson - Atlas of Punctuation - Page detail of The Little Prince, 2014, contemporary art, book
Heidi Neilson – Atlas of Punctuation – Page detail of The Little Prince, 2014

SP Weather Station Project

Founded in 2007 by two artists, Heidi Neilson and Natalie Campbell, SP Weather Station is an interdisciplinary project, created with an idea to collect weather data, host various guest lectures, and organize weather-related magazines, events, and exhibitions.

The project gathers artists and weather enthusiasts around the world, and each year publishes various collated prints, booklets, drawings, audio files, photo and video material. As an open-ended assignment, the invited artist or artists group is asked to strictly or loosely ‘report’ on the weather data taken by SPWS instruments, stationed on the roof of Flux Factory in Long Island. By recording its area’s environmental conditions using new and historical technologies, SPWS contributes in some of the many ways people have, throughout the course of history, made their own weather and climate observations.

Her recent projects include Menu for Mars Kitchen and Ground Station.

Heidi Neilson - Menu for Mars Supper Club, 2014-15, kitchen
Heidi Neilson – Menu for Mars Supper Club, 2014-15

Collections in New York and Washington

Art of Heidi Neilson has been included in over 60 museum, university and private collections, such as the Brooklyn Museum Library, Columbia University, Museum of Fine Arts Boston Library, Museum of Modern Art San Francisco Library, Nevada Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Otis College of Art & Design, Pratt Institute, Stanford University, Vassar College, Washington University Library, Wesleyan University, and Yale University.

Neilson’s work, over the course of years, has been supported by many foundations and art institutions, including the Art Matters Foundation, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Center for Book Arts, the College Book Art Association, The Drawing Center, Flux Factory, I-Park, the International Print Center New York, the Islip Art Museum, Kala Art Institute, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Lower East Side Printshop, Provisions Library, the Queens Museum of Art, Visual Studies Workshop, and Women’s Studio Workshop.

Heidi Neilson has also received many awards and grants for her work. Her most significant acknowledgments include two artist’s book publishing grants from Women’s Studio Workshop, for her books Atlas of punctuation in 2004 and Orbital debris simulator in 2010. In addition, Heidi Neilson is a member of the ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative, and a co-founded SP Weather Station.

Heidi Neilson currently lives and works in New York.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Type of AbstractionKey Projects Space, Long Island City, NYGroup
2015Six Artists EtchingShoestring Press, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2015Reading RoomOwens Art Gallery, Sackville, New Brunswick, CanadaGroup
2015Then and Now: Ten Years of Residencies at the Center for Book ArtsNew York, NYGroup
2015Photo Book WorksAbecedarian Gallery, Denver, COGroup
2014Art as ResearchFine Arts Gallery, George Mason University, Fairfax, VAGroup
2014ParametersPress Street’s Antenna Gallery, New Orleans, LAGroup
2014It’s About Time: A Workbook for the Working PersonILSSA [Impractical Labor in the Service of the Speculative Arts, The Press at Colorado College, Coburn Gallery, Colorado Springs, COGroup
2014Featured Artist Project: SP Weather Reports (2008-2013)Center for Book Arts, New York, NYGroup
2013New Prints 2013Autumn, International Print Center New York, NY. Juried.Group
2013The MCBA PrizeBook Art Biennial, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2013Directed: The Intersection of Book, Film and Visual NarrativeMinnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2013Serious Double ActsMarcus Campbell Art Books, London, UKGroup
2013Ed Ruscha: Books & CoGagosian Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2013Stellar: Book Art and the CosmosMinnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2013New Prints – WinterInternational Prints Center New York, NYGroup
2013A Fair exhibition of DIY booksUniversity of Kansas Art + Design Gallery, Lawrence, KSGroup
2012Maps & Space: books by Heidi NeilsonHerrick Memorial Library, Alfred University, Alfred, NYSolo
2012Public TrustFlux Factory, Long Island City, NYGroup
2012StardustRahway Arts Gallery, Rahway, NJGroup
2012Small Press: Exhibition of Artist Books and PublicationsJohnson Gallery, Bethel University, St. Paul, MNGroup
2012DIY: Photographers & BooksCleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OHGroup
2012Virtual – MonumentalBronx River Arts Center, Bronx, NYGroup
2011Workspace Artist-in-Residence Exhibiton: James Case-Leal, Liz Linden, Colin McMullan, and Heidi NeilsonCenter for Book Arts, New York, NYGroup
2011IntramuralTiger Strikes Asteroid, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2011CENTRAL BOOKING in BerlinK-Salon, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2011The Print BookedNOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) Galleries, Ken Kirschman Artspace, New Orleans, LAGroup
2011ILSSA: Every Day WorkHammes Gallery at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, INGroup
2011Weathering it outStudio Place Arts Gallery, Barre, VTGroup
2011LUNATION: Art on the MoonObservatory, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2011Shifting Communities: SP Weather Station; Laura Napier; Christy SpeakmanBronx River Arts Center, Bronx, NYGroup
2011Multiple, Limited, Unique: Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book ArtsThe Center for Book Arts, New York, NYGroup
2011The (UN)Framed PhotographThe Center for Book Arts, New York, NYGroup
2011Heat IslandSmack Mellon, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2011New Prints 2011 - Summer – Selected by Trenton Doyle HancockInternational Print Center, New York, NYGroup
2011First International Printmaking Triennial of ULUSThe Association of Fine Artists of Serbia, Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavilion, Belgrade, SerbiaGroup
2011Hand, Voice and Vision: Artists’ Books from Women’s Studio WorkshopGroiler Club, New York, NYGroup
2010Introducing Fake Snow & JoeyWomen’s Studio Workshop Gallery, Rosendale, NYSolo
2010Pulling from History: LetterpressThe Print Center, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2010StructuredSpattered Columns Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2010Science FairFlux Factory, Long Island City, NYGroup
2010New Prints: Part II, Works from the International Print Center, New YorkUniversity of Pennsylvania, Meyerson Hall Gallery, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2010New Prints 2010 – WinterInternational Print Center New York, New York, NYGroup
2010Narrative SequencesThe Center for Book Arts, NYGroup
2009Home Planetarium SurveyThe Cabinet, Philadelphia, PASolo
2009Art in Odd Places Festival 2009: SIGN14th Street Manhattan, NYGroup
2009Natural HistoriesCentral Booking, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2009SP Weather Station - Weather ReportsAHN-VHS, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2009Threads: Interweaving Textu[r]al MeaningThe Center for Book Arts, New York, NYGroup
2009OUT OF THE INCUBATOR: CollaborationsIslip Art Museum, Islip, NYGroup
2009Queens International 4Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NYGroup
2008New Prints 2008 – AutumnInternational Print Center New York, New York, NYGroup
2008Beyond A Memorable FancyThe Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, New York, NYGroup
2008DOG-EARED: revealing the content of artists’ booksPurdue University, Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts, West Lafayette, INGroup
2008Fun & Games (and such...)The Center for Book Arts, New York, NYGroup
2008Are We There Yet?Virginia Commonwealth University, Southern Graphics Council ConferenceGroup
2008Fresh Impressions: Contemporary Letterpress PrintingHoffman Gallery at Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, ORGroup
2008Text Messages: Words and Letters in Contemporary PrintmakingThe Rye Arts Center Gallery, Rye, NYGroup
2007Long Island City SundialMeatspace Gallery, Long Island City, NYSolo
2007New York, New York, New York, so nice we named it thriceFlux Factory, Long Island City, NYGroup
2007PlayProteus Gowanus, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2007Singular Objects from the Artistbook Library & Kentler Flat Files at Proteus GowanusBrooklyn College Library, The City University of New York, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2007The Building ShowExit Art, New York, NYGroup
2007Iter-iter-ationNURTUREart Non-profit, Inc. Gallery, Williamsburg, NYGroup
2007A Printmaker’s PerspectiveRomo Gallery, Atlanta, GAGroup
2007New Prints 2007 – WinterInternational Print Center, New York, NYGroup
2006Beyond Words: Artists’ BooksUniversity Art Gallery, University of the South, Sewanee, TNGroup
2006Common Destination: Selections Fall 2006The Drawing Center, New York, NYGroup
2006Mutilated - Cultivated EnvironmentsThe Center for Book Arts, NYGroup
2006Artist in the Marketplace 26The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NYGroup
2006Spring ExhibitionLower East Side Printshop, New York, NYGroup
2006Well ReadNURTUREart Non-profit, Inc. Gallery, Williamsburg, NYGroup
2006New Prints 2005 – AutumnA+D Gallery Columbia College, Chicago, ILGroup
2005Roofs & A Block of AlleysKodoku Gallery, Portland, ORSolo
2005About Roofs: recent workWomen’s Studio Workshop Gallery, Rosendale, NYSolo
2004Somewhere In QueensThe Voelker Orth Museum, Flushing, NYSolo
2004Nest VariationsKodoko Gallery, Portland, ORSolo
1998Unmaps at the U.N.United Nations Building Lobby, New York, NYSolo
1997Thinking in Maps, Schafler Gallery, Brooklyn, NYSolo