Biography

Through the activation of public spaces around the world, artist Candy Chang creates work that examines the dynamics between society and the psyche, the threshold between isolation and community, and the role of public rituals in contemporary wellbeing. A leader in participatory public art, her work lies at the intersection of contemplative practice and the built environment.

After studying architecture, design, and urban planning, Chang worked with communities in Nairobi, New York, Helsinki, New Orleans, Vancouver, and Johannesburg, where she created low-barrier participatory public experiments to pursue more inclusive forms of democracy. After struggling with grief and depression, she channeled her emotional questions into her work. Her participatory public art project Before I Die reimagines the ways the walls of our cities can help us grapple with mortality and meaning as a community today. The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever,” and over 5,000 walls have been created in and over 75 countries, including China, Iraq, Argentina, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan.

She has continued to pursue new mediums to de-stigmatize discussion of mental health in collaboration with many organizations, including the Mural Arts Program, the Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services, and Green-Wood Cemetery. Her award-winning interactive mural The Atlas of Tomorrow draws upon psychology and the I Ching to transform a building into a device for philosophical reflection. Her most recent work, A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful, collected over 55,000 anxieties and hopes from visitors at The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. She often collaborates with James A. Reeves on the role of ritual in an age of distraction. Their work can be found at Ritual Fields.

She is a recipient of the TED Senior Fellowship, Urban Innovation Fellowship, and Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award. She was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, one of the Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design by Impact Design Hub, and a “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero by Oprah Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Venice Architecture Biennale, New Museum, Tate Modern, and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She is an international speaker on community, creativity, and emotional health, and her TED talk has been viewed over five million times.



CV

EDUCATION

M.S. Urban Planning, Columbia University, New York, NY
B.S. Architecture, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
B.F.A. Graphic Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

AWARDS & HONORS

  • Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship (2018)
  • Kindle Project Makers Muse Award (2017)
  • University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award (2017)
  • Hangar Artist Residency, Lisbon, Portugal (2017)
  • NES Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland (2017)
  • National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Creativity Connects Grant (2016)
  • Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award (2016)
  • American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Humanities Award (2016)
  • 40 under 40, Design in the 21st Century, Impact Design Hub (2016)
  • Lakkos Artist Residency, Heraklion, Crete, Greece (2016)
  • Puffin Foundation Grant (2015)
  • Ogden Museum Magnolia Ball Honoree (2015)
  • Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation Color Our World Award (2014)
  • AIGA 100 Years of Design Showcase (2014)
  • Louisiana’s Top 10 Contemporary Artists, Culture Trip (2014)
  • Top 100 Leaders in Public Interest Design, Impact Design Hub (2013)
  • The Creativity 50, Advertising Age (2013)
  • The Good 100, GOOD Magazine (2013)
  • Burning Man Award of Excellence (2013)
  • World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2012)
  • Art Production Fund Artist-in-Residence, The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV (2012)
  • Maryland Institute College of Art Samson Feldman Artist-in-Residence (2012)
  • TED Senior Fellowship (2011)
  • Black Rock Arts Foundation Grant Recipient (2011)
  • Tulane University/Rockefeller Foundation Urban Innovation Fellowship (2011)
  • Alaska Design Forum Artist-in-Residence (2011)
  • “Live Your Best Life” Local Hero, Oprah Magazine (2011)
  • Top 11 Visual Artists in New Orleans, NOLA Defender (2011)
  • European Capital of Culture Flux Aura/Artist as Neighbour Artist-in-Residence, Turku, Finland (2010)
  • Fast Company Emerging Master of Design (2010)
  • TED Global Fellowship (2009)
  • Center for Urban Pedagogy Making Policy Public Fellowship, New York (2008)
  • Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant Recipient (2008)
  • Columbia University Urban Planning Award for Outstanding Contribution to Leadership in Planning Education (2007)
  • Global Studio Fellowship, Johannesburg, South Africa (2007)
  • Infrastructure and Poverty Action Lab Fellowship (2007)
  • Global Studio Fellowship, Vancouver, Canada (2006)
  • Spatial Information Design Lab Fellowship, New Orleans (2006)

PUBLIC ART & EXHIBITIONS

Upcoming
Light the Barricades, Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, CA
After the End, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

2019

Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, presented by The Helis Foundation, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Apr-Oct 2019.
Before I Die, Arts Center of Mississippi, Greater Jackson Arts Council, Jackson, MS
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, Apr-Sep 2019

2018
A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful, The Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY, Feb 2018-Jan, 2019
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., Mar-Sep 2018
Confessions, ARTSakh Fest, Institute of Contemporary Art, Stepanakert, Artsakh
Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina, Historic New Orleans Collection
Confessions public installation, Karoyan Gallery and Moscow Cinema, Yerevin, Armenia
Before I Die, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO
Before I Die, Culture Lab, West Palm Peach, FL

2017
Confessions, Merge Festival, London, England, UK
Open Studio, NES Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland
Before I Die, SICK! Festival, Manchester, England, UK

2016
By the People: Designing a Better America, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY
The Atlas of Tomorrow, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA
Three Experiments in the City by Candy Chang, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece
Grief is a Beast That Will Never Be Tamed, Lakkos Artist Residency, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Réver(cité), Cité de l’architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris, France
Confessions, Ў Gallery of Contemporary Art, Minsk, Belarus
Before I Die, Pen and Brush Gallery, New York, NY
The Past and The Future: Looking Back, Now and Forward, New York Public Library, New York, NY

2015
She Dreamed of a Place Called Fat City, Arts Council of New Orleans & Fat City Friends, New Orleans, LA
Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s – Now exhibition, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA
Before I Die, Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery, Palm Desert, CA

2014
Love Destroys Time, Exhibit BE, Prospect 3 satellite exhibition, New Orleans, LA
Imago Mundi, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
Design for Social Impact, Museum of Design Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
The Candy Chang Initiative, Union Internationale des Architectes, Durban, South Africa
Bankside Transformed, Merge Festival, Tate Modern, London, UK
ArtPrize, Grand Rapids, MI
Design for Social Impact, Museum of Design Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
Spontaneous Interventions, Governors Island, New York, NY
Geographies of Change, Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy

2013
Futures Project, Centre for the Living Arts, Mobile, AL
Before I Die, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
The Institute Effect, Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Lisbon, Portugal
Ideas City, New Museum, New York, NY
Until We Meet Again… San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
EmpathiCITY, Biennale Internationale Design, Saint-Étienne, France
Untapped Invitational, Umbrella Arts Gallery, New York, NY
Ephemera Sprawl, The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA
Dial Collect, SOMArts, San Francisco, CA
Confessions, TED Fellows Retreat, Monterey, CA
Signs of Our Times: Text Based Art in the 21st Century, Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery, Hammond, LA

2012
Kissing, Crying, and Freaking Out in Public, Detour Design Renegade, Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, Hong Kong
Spontaneous Interventions, Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy
Past Futures, Present, Futures, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, NY
Death: The Southbank Centre’s Festival for the Living, Southbank Centre, London, UK
Confessions, Art Production Fund and The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV
Iconic Signage Project, Arts Council of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
The City Speaks Exhibition, Museum of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mix(Cité), La Cité de L’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris, France
Before I Die, Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV

2011
Flux Aura, European Creative Capital of Culture, Turku, Finland
Looking for Love Again, Common Space, Alaska Design Forum, Fairbanks, AK
The Voice Of…, Onomatopee, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Hypothetical Development, Du Mois Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Neighborland, New Orleans, LA
Subtext Projects, East/West Galleries, Fort Worth, TX
Before I Die, New Orleans, LA

2010
National Design Triennial, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, NY
Ethnographic Terminalia
, Du Mois Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Poster Offensive, GALLEY, Minneapolis, MN
I Wish This Was, Ethnographic Terminalia, New Orleans, LA
It’s Good to Be Here, New Orleans, LA
Neighbor Doorknob Hangar, GOOD Magazine

2009
Global Polis, Center for Architecture, New York, NY
@, Sci-Arc, Los Angeles, CA
Poster4Tomorrow, Various cities

2008
Community Chalkboard, Global Studio, Johannesburg, South Africa
Illuminators
, Koltsovo International Airport, Yekaterinburg, Russia
The Pedestrian Timeline, Figment, Governors Island, New York, NY
Post-it-Notes for Neighbors, Windows Brooklyn, New York, NY
A Nice Place For A Tree, New York, NY

2007
Conflux Festival, Brooklyn, NY
MC2, Maison de la culture de Grenoble, Grenoble, France

2006
Sidewalk Psychiatry, New York, NY

SELECTED LECTURES

2018
TED Sessions with Marriott, Boston, MA
Women’s Leadership Conference, Las Vegas, NV
Colorado Governors Tourism Conference, Vail, CO
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh, PA

2017
Google, Macau, China
WESTAF Public Art Symposium, Honolulu, HI
TED Sessions with Ford, London, UK
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
World 50, New Orleans, LA

2016
Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
C.G. Jung Society of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
4GN Design Congress, Bogota, Columbia
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Chicago, IL
Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

2015
We The City Conference, Vancouver, Canada
Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA
City of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
California Conference for Women, Santa Clara, CA
International Design Association, Kohler, WI

2014
Vivid Sydney Festival, Sydney, Australia
American Planning Association National Conference, Atlanta, GA
Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference, Detroit, MI
Pennsylvania Conference for Women, Philadelphia, PA
New Mexico Municipal League, Albuquerque, NM

2013
World Education Congress, Las Vegas, NV
Center for Architecture, New York, NY
Canadian Institute of Planners, Vancouver, Canada
Centre for the Living Arts, Mobile, AL
Global Health Summit, New Orleans, LA

2012
Creativity World Forum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
TED Global Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV

2011
TED Conference, Long Beach, CA
Youth Art Camp, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Visión Diseño Conference, Querétaro, Mexico
Summer Public Art School, Turku, Finland
Alaska Design Forum Symposium, Anchorage, AK

Stay in Touch

Candy Chang

Before I Die

Newsletter

Stay posted on Candy Chang’s upcoming work:

Inspiration

12 BOOKS

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature
William James

Just Kids
Patti Smith

Einstein’s Dreams
Alan Lightman

The History of Western Philosophy
Bertrand Russell

The I Ching (Book of Changes)

High-Rise
J.G. Ballard

White Noise
Don DeLillo

The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age
K.G. Pontus Hulten, ed. Museum of Modern Art, 1968

The Diary of Anaïs Nin
Anaïs Nin

Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

The Middle Passage
James Hollis

The Little Prince
Antoine Saint-Exupery

 

12 FILMS

In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar Wai

Blade Runner
Ridley Scott

First Reformed
Paul Schrader

The Century of the Self
Adam Curtis

The City of Lost Children
Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Marc Caro

8 1/2
Federico Fellini

Marjorie Prime
Michael Almereyda

Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola

Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight 
Richard Linklater

New York: A Documentary Film
Ric Burns

Mulholland Drive
David Lynch

Enemy
Denis Villeneuve

Cosmos
Carl Sagan

 

12 SONGS

Adagio for Strings
Samuel Barber

Perfect Life
Belong

Sister Part 1
Cliff Martinez

A Trop Répéter Bien
Alice Dona

Angor Wat Finale
Michael Galasso, Shigeru Umebayashi

Moya
Godspeed You! Black Emperor

#3
Aphex Twin

Some Velvet Morning
Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra

Man Machine
Kraftwerk

Perfect Day
Lou Reed

Voila
Francoise Hardy

Be Brave
Tropic of Cancer

The Voice of Love
Angelo Badalamenti