Kelsey Halliday Johnson (b. 1986, Philadelphia) currently lives and works in Portland, ME where she is the Executive Director of the multi-disciplinary visual and performing art organization SPACE.
Kelsey’s work explores themes about human perception, our evolving understanding of the verisimilitude and function of the photographic medium, and our mediated relationship to the landscape. Her work has been shown at venues including Vox Populi, the Berman Museum of Art, the Delaware Art Museum, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Delaware Contemporary, EXPO Chicago, and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at The University of the Arts. Kelsey has lectured extensively on her own work and contemporary art history at venues including University of Pennsylvania, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, the Academy of Fine Arts in Ravenna, Moore College, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the International CUMULUS Conference, the University of the Arts, Tyler School of Art, Hunter College, and New York University.
An alumna of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University, Kelsey received her interdisciplinary MFA at the University of Pennsylvania with a certificate in Landscape Architecture and holds her bachelor's degree in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University with a certificate in European Cultural Studies. She was previously a member of the collective Vox Populi. In 2016, she was awarded a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Exhibitions and Public Interpretation grant for her project and publication Making/Breaking the Binary: Women, Art & Technology (1968-1985). She occasionally updates her long-running and celebrated art Tumblr Softpyramid(s).
Prior to moving to Maine, she lived and worked for a decade in Philadelphia and held curatorial positions at the Michener Art Museum, Locks Gallery, and Vox Populi. The exhibition "The Body in Spirals," exploring alchemy, mathematics, and symbolism in the work of Thomas Chimes, was nominated for Best Exhibition in a Commercial Space Nationally by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA).
While working for Vox Populi she initiated the Pew Center funded AUX Curatorial Fellowship which brought five curators to Philadelphia to focus on performance art for research and a programming series over the course of two years. She has also organized exhibitions for Vox Populi including the three-woman sculpture exhibition "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," the collaborative "Surf Club," and "Video Snack 5", as well as numerous performance and screening presentations in their blackbox space. In 2016, she curated the exhibit "Repeater" at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in Philadelphia. She has also juried exhibitions at the ICA Philadelphia, University of the Arts, and Moore College. Kelsey has previously held positions at the PennMuseum and Blind Spot magazine and has taught photography and digital arts at the University of Pennsylvania and Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Her writing has appeared in Performa Magazine, Title Magazine, and Studio among others. Additionally, she has written catalog essays for publications featuring the work of Thomas Chimes, Robert Rauschenberg, Nancy Graves, the contemporary legacy of Charles Sheeler, and contemporary explorations of photographic objecthood. She continues to regularly undertake independent curatorial work and freelance writing for reviews, articles, research pieces, and grants. Now and again you can catch her on the radio at 103.3FM or wprb.com, where she was music director for over three years and helped champion the station's first ever public-funding membership drive in 2007.
This website is not a complete archive nor is it quite as informative as it could be. If you are in need of more information about a body of work or are looking for exhibited work that does not appear on this site– please contact the artist at kelsey(at)space538(dot)org.