“Mr Grennan and Mr Sperandio tweak our notion of what art is and who it is for.”
Roberta Smith, New York Times
Simon Grennan and Christopher Sperandio met at the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1988 and have worked together exclusively as a team since 1990. Grennan works from north Wales, and Sperandio works from Houston, Texas.
Two things remain constant in their practice: they always work together and their work invariably involves the authorial or editorial participation of other people – other members of the public. Their work often utilizes media that are culturally compromised: chocolate, comic books and television, appearing at social sites of consumption in the home and store and on the street.
They are best known for working with the unionized employees of a Chicago chocolate factory to mass produce a new chocolate bar with Sculpture Chicago program ‘Culture in Action’ (1993), for making and distributing collaboratively-made comic books in partnership with DC Comics, Fantagraphics Books and others (1995, continuing) and for the creation of two U.S. reality television series, ‘Artstar’ and ‘Artstar II’ (2006, 2008). Grennan & Sperandio worked with Colin de Land, American Fine Arts Company, from 1995. They are often seen as part of a critical history of artists whose work is focused on social narrative and social exchange. Over the last twenty years, this history of practice has been described as ‘interventionist’, ‘New Genre’, and ‘Relational’. In 2010, Bucharest Biennial curator Felix Vogel chose the term ‘handlung’ (‘acting together’) to describe the social turn in this approach to practice.
2008 – 2011 PhD. University of the Arts London (Grennan)
1988-1990 Master of Fine Art. University of Illinois at Chicago.
1984-1988 Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art). Reading University (Grennan)
1984-1987 Bachelor of Fine Arts. West Virginia University (Sperandio)
Selected Projects and Exhibitions
2014 Redhouse, Merthyr Tydfil
2013 Hardesty Arts Centre, Tulsa
2013 Great Places Housing Group, Manchester
2012 South Bristol Community Hospital
2012 A New Direction, London
2011 Royal Society of Arts, London
2011 Firstsite, Colchester
2011 Blackpool Borough Council
2011 Towneley Hall, Burnley
2011 London Thames Gateway
2011 The Poor Farm, Manawa
2010 Lanternhouse, Ulverston
2010 Wit Residency, Ann Arbor
2010 Tyne and Wear Museums, Newcastle
2010 Big Things on the Beach, Edinburgh
2009 NGBK / Projekt U-10, Berlin
2009 Barrhead Housing Association, Glasgow
2009 Caia Park Communities First, Wrexham
2009 Blackpool Borough Council, Blackpool
2008 Camden Borough Council, London
2008 Safle, Cardiff
2008 Creative Time, New York
2008 Gallery HD Television, New York
2008 Gunpowder Park, London
2008 The Lowry, Salford
2008 Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales
2007 West Virginia University, Morgantown
2007 Audiences Wales, Cardiff
2007 Northampton Museums Service
2006 Gallery HD Television/Jeffrey Deitch Gallery New York
2006 English Heritage, Berwick-upon-Tweed
2006 Arts Marketing Hampshire, Winchester
2005 English Heritage, Thetford
2005 Sussex Arts Marketing, Brighton
2005 Madrid Abierto, Madrid, Spain
2004 Livesey Museum for Children, London
2004 Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
2004 Hayward Gallery, London
2003 De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea
2002 Museum of Modern Art/PS1, New York
2002 Asda Wal-Mart, Swindon
2002 Arts About Manchester, Manchester
2002 Canterbury City Council, Canterbury
2001 Palais de Tokyo, Paris
2001 Time Based Arts, Hull
2001 Milton Keynes Council, Milton Keynes
2001 Arhus Kunstmuseum, Arhus
2001 Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
2001 Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
2001 Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
2001 Channel 4 Television, London
2000 Hasselblad Centre, Gottenburg
2000 Centre for the Arts, San Francisco
2000 Art in Hospitals Trust, St Leonards
2000 Moss Side and Hulme Partnership, Manchester
2000 Harris Museum, Preston
1999 Centre for Visual Arts, Cardiff
1999 Public Art Fund, New York
1999 South London Gallery, London
1998 Photo98. London/Edinburgh
1998 School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Boston
1998 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
1998 Tate Gallery Liverpool, Henry Moore Inst. England
1997 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
1997 National Museum of Photography, Bradford
1997 Art Forum Magazine, New York
1997 Gallerie Phillipe Rizzo, Paris
1996 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
1996 Centre for Curatorial Studies, New York
1996 American Fine Arts Co. New York
1996 Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
1996 Institute of Contemporary Arts. London
1995 Cornerhouse. Manchester
1995 Eastern State Penitentiary. Philadelphia
1995 Salisbury Festival. Salisbury
1994 Centre for the Arts, San Francisco
1994 Towner Gallery and Museum, Eastbourne
1994 James Hockey Gallery, Farnham
1993 Grey Art Gallery, New York.
1993 Sculpture Chicago, Chicago
1992 Lakeview Museum of Arts and Science Peoria.
1992 Astley Cheetham Collection, Stalybridge
1991 Stadtische Gallerie Fellbach, Fellbach
1991 Manchester City Art Galleries. Manchester
1990 Five Urban Churches, Chicago
2006 Bloomberg Space, London
2003 Tate Modern, London
2000 Hasselblad Centre, Gottenburg
2000 Up in the Air, Liverpool
1999 Project Row Houses, Houston “Street Life”
1999 Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago “Transmute”
1998 Green Nafthali Gallery, New York
1997 Centre for Curatorial Studies, New York “a/drift”
1997 Philippe Rizzo Gallery, Paris
1996 CAPC Museé d’art Contemporain, Bordeaux
1995 Swiss Institute. New York
1994 American Fine Arts Co. New York
1993 Laure Genillard Gallery. London “Vox Pop”
1993 Daniel Bucholz Gallery. Cologne “Lotus Club”
1993 Anderson O’Day Gallery. London “Times”
1992 Artist’s Space. New York”Warp and Woof ”
1991 Kettle’s Yard Gallery. Cambridge “Post Morality”.
1990 Randolph Street Gallery. Chicago
2003 Rootstein Hopkins Foundation Project Grant
1998 Friends of the Contemporary, Seattle.
1997 National lottery A4E (On Line)
1996 Collectors’ Fund, Boston (Dirt)
1995 National Endowment for the Arts (Life in Prison)
1994 Paul Hamlyn Foundation (Six Eastbourne Dentists)
1993 John and Catherine McArthur Foundation (Sculpture Chicago)
1992 Lila Wallace / Reader’s Digest Foundation (Sculpture Chicago)
1990 Illinois Arts Council (Community Arts Access Program).
2014 Patterns of Merthyr, Redhouse, Merthyr Tydfil
2014 Cargo Space, Hardesty Arts Centre, Tulsa
2013 Memories Materialised, Great Places Housing Group, Manchester
2012 TRUCE! Tableaux, A New Direction, London
2011 Colchester Round, Firstsite, Colchester
2011 Profound Colours, Lanternhouse, Ulverston
2011 From Here to the Imaginary and Back, NGBK Berlin
2010 Siege and Storm, Tyne and Wear Museums, Newcastle
2009 Wisdom of Barrhead and Neilston, Barrhead Housing, Glasgow
2009 Wisdom of Caia Park, Cai Park Communities First, Wrexham,
2009 Bloomfield Talks, Blackpool Borough Council, Blackpool
2008 Giant Psychic Avatars of Salford, The Lorwy, Salford, England
2008 Becoming Modern, Oreil Davies, Newtown, Wales
2008 Our Comic Book, Revolver, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
2008 Fifteen Plus One, Axis Design, Manchester
2008 Kartoon Kings, West Virginia University Press, Morgantown, USA
2008 The Art Below / Without Art I’m Nothing, Audiences Wales, Cardiff
2007 Making It, Northampton Museums Service
2006 The Conversationalists, English Heritage, Berwick-upon-Tweed
2006 Back Then Right Now, AMH, Winchester
2005 Out of the Dark, English Heritage, Thetford
2005 Canterbury Whitefriars Arts Programme, SWPA, Warwick
2005 Here is Wherever, Sussex Arts Marketing, Brighton
2005 Re Views: Art and Public Space, Black Dog Publishing, Oxford
2004 What We Want Is Free, State University of New York Press
2004 Energy, Livesey Museum, London, England
2005 Furthermore, Up in the Air, Liverpool, England
2004 Recent Projects from Public Art Fund, PAF, New York, USA
2004 Strange Cargo, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
2003 Comic Release, Zzdap Publishing, Pasadena
2003 One Place After Another, MIT Press, New York, US
2002 What in the World?, Arts About Manchester, Manchester, England
2002 Modern Masters, MoMA/PS1, New York, USA
2001 Glasgow 16/25, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.
1999 The Invisible City, Public Art Fund, New York
1999 Art School Superstars, School of the Museum, Boston
1999 Buried Treasures. Photo98, England.
1998 The Peasant and the Devil. Seattle Art Museum, Seattle.
1998 Out of Here. Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.
1998 Ghost on the Stair. Art Transpennine 98, England.
1997 Revenge. Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.
1997 One Hundred. National Museum of Photography, Bradford.
1996 Dirt. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
1996 a/drift. Centre for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. USA
1996 Traffic. CAPC Museé d’art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France
1996 Cartoon Hits. London. Institute of Contemporary Arts.
1995 Prison Sentences. Philadelphia. Prison Sentences.
1995 Times Like These… Manchester. Cornerhouse.
1995 Life in Prison. Fantagraphics.
1995 Culture in Action. Chicago.Sculpture Chicago.
1994 Recollections. San Francisco. Centre for the Arts.
1994 Six Eastbourne Dentists. Eastbourne. Towner Art Gallery .
1994 Everyone in Farnham. Farnham. James Hockey Gallery.
1994 Maintenance. New York. College of DuPage.
1993 Anyone in New York. New York. New York University.
1992 At Home with the Collection. New York. Bootstrap.
1991 Belgrove Station Project. Glasgow, Alan Dunn.
1990 The Body Chicago, Bootstrap.