Michelle Fornabai is a conceptual artist, sometimes mistaken as an architect, who forms ideas in ink and concrete. Her work explores “malpractices,” translated literally from the German kunstfehler as “art mistakes,” in conjunction with architectural “standards of practice,” de lege artis in Latin, “according to the rules of the art.”
Trained as an architect, Michelle Fornabai received her Masters of Architecture from Princeton University. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Contemporary Art Center New Orleans, the Bruce Museum and the Yuan Art Museum, Beijing, China. Her work has been supported by the Boston Cultural Council, MacDowell, the LEF Foundation and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in Fine Arts, and has been reviewed in Surface, Praxis, The New York Times and Frieze Magazine. She has lectured at the Whitney Museum, the ICA in Philadelphia, the San Francisco Art Institute, The Fashion Institute of Technology and for the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation.
Her recent work on ink, Rorschach Paintings, Projective Drawings, Synesthesia Series Paintings and Ink or V is for Vermillion as described by Vitruvius: An A to Z of Ink in Architecture, explores the relation between material cues and their perceptual and cognitive processing. In 2018, Michelle Fornabai placed one of her “concrete poems” in dialogue with Paul Rudolph’s “essay in concrete” at Boston’s Government Service Center during a six-day performance in floating concrete as part of her decade-long project, Concrete Poetry: 10 Conceptual Acts of Architecture in Concrete. The following year, an exhibition documenting her conceptual art practice in dialogue with Boston’s Brutalist architecture was situated throughout Boston City Hall’s historic galleries on the anniversary of the building’s 50th. In 2019, she instituted Grass Pillow in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood and began the conceptual construction of an art site for land and environmental art with the material development of two acts in concrete as foundational gestures.
MArch Princeton University