Arden Surdam

Arden GAR Studio Portrait1.jpg


Arden Surdam (b. 1988 New York, NY) received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2015 and her BFA from Oberlin College in 2010. Her work has appeared in GARAGE Magazine, CARLA, Tzvetnik, Singing Saw Press, Kubaparis, Paris Photo Parcours, TERREMOTO, and Photograph Magazine among other publications. Recent exhibitions include: NAUSEA, Galveston Artist Residency, Galveston, TX (2019); Hold Your Breath, SLOAN Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Not All There, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA (2018); A Curious Herbal, GARDEN, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Real Shadows for Mere Bodies, College of the Canyons with Stephanie Deumer, Santa Clarita, CA (2017); Exposed with Jo Ann Callis at the California Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Paris Photo (2017), and Solid Liquid at The Situation Room, Los Angeles, CA (2016). 



“My studio practice employs photographic methods to activate food matter. This occurs in multiple forms including social practice events, sculptural installations, and still life photography. My interest in food lies in its ability to be engaged as a social sculpture as well as a medium for sensory experiences. Moreover, I am fascinated by food's capacity to connote class, art history, and tradition. My most recent work for my 2019 exhibitions has been specifically focused on offal –the entrails or internal organs of newly slaughtered animals. I am interested in the historical use of these foods, most determinedly their cultural patterning and consumption by the lower class. The variable value of food by society, –an animal part considered precious in one century and collectively repugnant in another, is a fluctuating system of likes and dislikes that has become a focal point of my current practice. 

In my latest works, I have inserted food matter like liver, ray fish, oysters, and pig intestines into traditional still lifes. This gesture, inspired by the canonical images of Soutine, Bacon, and Chardin, is intended to visually signify the tension between delectability and repulsion. In addition to food materials, the still lifes feature photographs taken from the pages of American 1970s international cuisine cookbooks, which present visual directions on how to cook “sophisticated” intercontinental meals. By re-photographing these images, my desire is to challenge the intentionality of ‘food worldliness’, questioning traditional notions of value through ideas of food loathing (elementary and archaic forms of abjection) and food worshipping.”

- Arden Surdam, 2019 


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Exhibition History

Arden Surdam (b.1988 New York, NY)
Lives & works in Los Angeles, CA


2010 BA, Environmental Studies & Visual Arts, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH 2015 MFA, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA


2019, Offal, ABXY Gallery, New York, NY

2019 Nausea, Galveston Artist Residency, Galveston, Texas

2017 Real Shadows for Mere Bodies, College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, CA Hold Your Breath, SLOAN Projects, Los Angeles, CA

2016 Solid Liquid, The Situation Room, Los Angeles, CA
2015 Focus Photo, Photo Basel, Ackermannshof Basel, Switzerland

How to Tell When Its Done, MFA Thesis Exhibition, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA To Tempt the Most Reluctant Appetites, MFA Mid-Residency Solo Exhibition, CalArts, Valencia, CA


2018 La Biennale di Vista del Oro II curated by Santi Vernetti in collaboration with Haena Yoo, featuring Sarah McMenimen, Sterling Wells, and Haena Yoo, San Pedro, CA
Other Places Art Fair (OPAF) with Laura Schawelka and Yola Monakhov Stockton, Garden LA, Los Angeles, CA

Garden Variety curated by Katie Bode, Brand Library, Los Angeles, CA
Not All There organized & curated by Emily Mast, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA
A Curious Herbal with Brian Khek, Dwyer Kilcollin, Naoki Sutter-Shudo, & Alice Wang, Garden LA, Los Angeles, CA

2017 Exposed; The Female Lens in a Post Identity Era with Jo Ann Callis, California Museum of Art (CMATO), Los Angeles, CA

Fourth World curated by Leonardo Bravo with Lindsay August-Salazar, Sonja Gerdes, Karen Lofgren, Galia Linn, Saskia Wilson-Brown, Amanda Yates Garcia, The Institute for Art & Olfaction,
Los Angeles, CA
Month of Photo Los Angeles, Lucie Foundation, Los Angeles, CA

2016 Thus Spake the Fungus curated by Santi Vernetti, Arturo Bandini, Los Angeles, CA 2017 with Camille Weiner, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
Seconds, SLOAN Projects, Los Angeles, CA
Photo LA, 25th Annual International Photographic Exposition, Los Angeles, CA

2015 Studio Cooking in collaboration with Meghan Gordon, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA Fragment UCLA Wight Biennial, Los Angeles, CA
GLAMFA, 10th Annual Greater Los Angeles Master of Fine Arts Exhibition, Long Beach, CA Untitled, 2015 CalArts MFA Show, curated by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, Los Angeles, CA Introducing! Emerging Photographers, J.P. Morgan Chase, Paris Photo, Paris, France

Mythologies of Progress in American Landscapes, AEStudios, New York, NY Photo LA, 24th Annual International Photographic Exposition, Los Angeles, CA Art about Agriculture, Santa Paula Art Museum, CA

2014 The Body is a Machine, Queer Arts Collective, CalArts, Valencia, CA

Pardon My Condition, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA 2013 Ecology is Dead curated by Michelle Dizon, CalArts, Valencia, CA Untitled ArtProjects curated by Terrence Sanders, Los Angeles, CA 2012 East End Photographers’ Group: Fall Exhibition, Southampton, NY

2010 Honey & Wounds with Yujean Parks, Fisher Gallery, Oberlin, OH
2009 Six Principal Observations on Human Behavior, Coup d’oeil Art Consortium, New Orleans, LA

PhotoNOLA, Jupiter Art Projects, New Orleans, LA SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Schwartz, Erin, What Luxury Marijuana Means for Weed’s Original Entrepreneurs, GARAGE Magazine, September, 2018
Crippa, Karim, LA (Un)confidential - Exhibitionary Goes West!, Exhibitionary, February 2018
Davis, Genie, Garden Variety: Growing Great Art the Brand, Art and Cake, February 2018

Simmons, Jessica, A Curious Herbal at Garden, Contemporary Art Review LA (CARLA), February 2018 A Curious Herbal, TERREMOTO, February 2018
Sloan, Hannah, Rule Breakers: Arden Surdam, Don’t Take Pictures, February, 2018
A Curious Herbal: A Group Show at Garden, Tzvetnik, February 2018

A Curious Herbal at Garden / Los Angeles, DAILYLAZY, February 2018
Garden: A Curious Herbal, Kubaparis, Zeitschrift fur junge Kunst, January 2018
Sydney, Georgia, A Return to Witch Mountain: Q&A with Arden Surdam, (UN)published, January 2018 Parallax 4, Untitled with Khalil HuffmanSinging Saw Press, October, 2017
Nys Dambrot, Shana, The Fourth World: Institute of Art and Olfaction, Art and Cake, October 2017 Sydney, Georgia, Real Shadows for Mere Bodies, (UN)published, September 2017
Ferri, Graziano, Arden Surdam: Selected Works, FotoRoom, 2017
Smithson, Aline, Arden Surdam: Hold Your Breath, LENSCRATCH, January 2017
Barral, Xavier, Paris Photo 1997-2016 Parcours, catalog by / Paris Photo, Paris, France
Bode, Katie, Solid Liquid, Contemporary Art Review LA (CARLA), September 2016
Wagley, Catherine, In the Studio: Arden Surdam, Photograph Magazine, August 2016
Alessi, Andrea, TASTE, ArtSlant Los Angeles, June 2016
Dennis, Caitlin, Emerging Los Angeles Artists, FLAUNT Magazine, March 2016
Howard, Ellie, Studio Cooking at Armory Center for the Arts, Elephant Magazine, November 2016 Alessi, Andrea, What Do Artists Eat?, ArtSlant Los Angeles, November 2016
Yurshanksy, Jenny, Mystic Pizza, Notes On Looking, November 2016
Linkof, Ryan, Fragment, UCLA Fragment Exhibition Catalog, September 2015
Bartlett, Claudia, Special Exhibition: Focus Photo, Photo Basel Catalog, June 2015
Lehrer-Graiwer, Sarah, The New Just-Past: 2015, The 2015 CalArts MFA Catalog, June 2015
Weisner, Christoph, INTRODUCING! PARIS PHOTO J. P. MORGAN, Paris Photo Catalog, April, 2015 Mermea, Jacqueline, Highlights from Paris Photo LA, BlouinArtInfo, May 1st, 2015
Paris Photo: Introducing! Finalist: Arden Ellis Surdam, The Eye of Photography, April 28, 2015
Jordan, Eliza, Mythical Millenial Mindsets in “Chasing Unicorns,” Whitewall Magazine, April 21, 2015

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2018 Galveston Artist Residency, Galveston, Texas
2017 Finalist, Lucie Foundation, Photograph Made Scholarship

Lenswork Publication Skills Grant, The Luminous Endowment
2015 Parlor Residency at the Armory with the Women’s Center for Creative Work, Los Angeles, CA

Grand Prize Winner, Focus Photo LA, Los Angeles, CA

Artist in Residence, ArtFarm, Marquette, NE
2014 A Lived Practice: Artists as Changemakers, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL