Cedric Tai: @fakingprofessionalism
One University Drive, Orange, California 92866
Sunday, September 3 at 3:00 PM 6:00 PM
Ends Oct 14, 2023
Chapman University’s Guggenheim Gallery on occasion of Wilkinson College’s Engaging the World is thrilled to announce @fakingprofessionalism, a solo presentation by Los Angeles based artist Cedric Tai. "I’d like to propose that ADHD/Autism just means ‘being bad at capitalism’ (being on time, accepting authority, etc.), which… isn’t the worst thing to be allergic to." -Cedric Tai @fakingprofessionalism is an evolving mis en scène that brings together artworks, a modular minigolf course, the artist’s temporary and improvised studio space, as well as references to keeping up appearances on social media. The installation blends three distinct social spaces: the workplace (the office and studio), a locus of negotiation and production; the exhibition space where finished products are displayed and discussed; and the sites of recreational activities, which are often haunted by the specter of professional networking. The merging of these spaces in the gallery provokes questions around the purposes, similarities, and differences of these sites. The fragmentary and ephemeral nature of @fakingprofessionalism mirrors not only diverse approaches to problem solving and the adaptable nature of the creative process, but also becomes a model of neurodivergent thinking. This is represented in how elements within the exhibition undergo transformations, unite with other segments, disappear, and subsequently resurface over the course of its duration. In the realm of work-life, professionalism stands as a valuable standard that upholds quality, expertise, and ethical conduct. It sets a benchmark for proficiency and ensures that individuals are adequately trained and qualified to carry out their responsibilities. However, our rigid understanding of this concept often creates a culture of exclusivity, perpetuating a narrow definition of what constitutes legitimate expertise, while marginalizing individuals who do not conform to these standards. This rigidity frequently acts as a gatekeeping mechanism, stifling individuality and inhibiting the full realization of diverse talents and perspectives. In stark contrast, some neurodivergent individuals perceive intricate patterns and connections, especially valuable in fields that require complex problem-solving, data analysis, and innovative thinking. Furthermore, viewing all minds as existing within a neurospectrum challenges the idea of a singular ‘center’ from which all others diverge. The exhibition raises compelling questions: What if we were to embrace a broader spectrum of behaviors, bodies, and minds that don't conform to traditional societal norms, rather than labeling some human actions as pathological? How can we further support the ways in which marginalized people live, work, and play, on their terms? In what ways can we redefine the usual rules of engagement, and what might this look like? In conjunction with Chapman University’s new Health Humanities Minor, Tai invites gallery visitors to observe the ways in which they navigate mental health resources and systems in place for the public today. The artist also shares their perspectives through printed brochures such as ‘How to Advocate for Yourself at the Doctors Office’ and ‘An ADHD Zine for/by Artists’. In @fakingprofessionalism Tai gives experimental, provisional, and non-clinically proven answers that provide a middle ground between social media hot takes and inaccessible scientific discourse. Tai shares their personal journey through the American healthcare system, professional sphere, and art world. Bio: Cēdric Tai is an undisciplinary artist, born in Detroit (1985), has an Art Education degree & BFA from Michigan State University (2007), and an MFA from the Glasgow School of Art (2013). Tai thinks through sculpture, talking, writing, performance and experimental exhibitions. Their artwork and teaching focuses on neurodivergent experience, labor and politics. They have partnered with neuroscientists, academics from critical psychiatry, artist collectives, disability justice social media influencers, and somatic therapists to co-create accessible resources particularly around mental health, potentially as a form of anti-capitalist solidarity. Lovingly referred to as 'Pathologically Curious', Cedric shifts Autism/ADHD shame into wonder, absurdity, meaningful challenges, and joyful interdependence. Some of their work is setup systematically (coding/spreadsheets/workshops/repetition) so that a given audience can become aware of their relationship to and agency within otherwise invisible structures. Other works are like love letters, or are intentionally not efficient, wherein they come to know someone/something through immersing themselves in an intimate process. C.V. in a sentence: 2009 Kresge Artist Fellowship, 2015 Knight Foundation Challenge Grant, 2016 Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, 2021 The Brutus Fund at Yucca Valley Art Material Lab, and a 4-month 2023 Sculpture Space Residency in Utica, NY Favorite Exhibition Titles: “Concept Structure Torture Survival Title", New City Space, Glasgow (2011), "Indirectly Yours", Intermedia, CCA, Glasgow (2013), "We Need More ________!", Simone DeSousa Gallery (2014), "Amateur Strategies", CAC, UCLA (2016), “50 Bad Artworks”, Casa Lü, Mexico City (2020) and, "@FakingProfessionalism", Chapman University Support their creative output and labor through donating $3 via Patreon.com/CedricTai