<em>Rachel Youn: Gather</em>, Great Rivers Biennial 2020, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 11, 2020—February 21, 2021. Photo: Will Driscoll.
Rachel Youn: Gather, Great Rivers Biennial 2020, installation view, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, September 11, 2020—February 21, 2021. Photo: Will Driscoll.

Great Rivers Biennial

Established in 2003, the Great Rivers Biennial is a collaborative exhibition program presented by CAM and the Gateway Foundation. This major initiative identifies talented emerging and mid-career artists working in the greater St. Louis metro area, provides them with financial assistance, and elevates their profile across the Midwest and national arts communities. Every two years, three winners are selected to receive $20,000 and are featured in the Great Rivers Biennial exhibition at CAM in the following summer.

Selection Process

A panel of distinguished jurors reviews all submissions that meet the eligibility requirements. The jurors choose ten semi-finalists and visit these artists’ studios. Afterward, the jurors select up to three winners. CAM curatorial staff may also attend the studio visits; however the selection process is made exclusively by the three jurors. The call for artists for the Great Rivers Biennial 2024 will take place in summer 2023. Check this page for details.

Yowshien Kuo (b. 1985, St. Louis) was educated in both Taiwan and the United States, receiving his MFA from Fontbonne University in St. Louis in 2014. Kuo’s artistic intentions are to humanize those relegated by recent histories. Through his work he advocates for compassion and empathy towards those who feel a constant sense of disassociation from the circumstances of their daily life. His recent solo exhibitions include James Fuentes online gallery (New York) and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis as part of an exhibition organized by the Teen Museum Studies program, Western Venom. Other notable exhibitions include Art Taipei 2021 with Artnutri Gallery; Praise Shadows Gallery, Boston; and LVL3 in Chicago. Kuo’s work was featured on the cover of New American Paintings and has appeared in Artsy, among other publications. He has been a recipient of the Critical Mass award and has received funding from the Regional Arts Commission in St. Louis. Artist website.

Yvonne Osei (b. 1990, Hamburg, Germany) is a German-born Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist, art educator, and arts advocate living and working in St. Louis. Her international creative practice explores topics of beauty, racism and colorism, the authorship and ownership of history, as well as the residual implications of colonialism in postcolonial West Africa and Western cultures. Her work also utilizes textile designs and clothing as artistic mediums to foreground sociopolitical issues of global concern. Osei is the 2016–17 Romare Bearden Graduate Minority Fellow at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the 2017–20 Curator-In-Residence for the Millstone Gallery at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA). She is the recipient of the 2018 Saint Louis Visionary Award for Emerging Artist, the 2018 Creative Stimulus Award by Critical Mass for the Visual Arts, and the 2019 Futures Fund Grant by The Luminary in St. Louis. Osei received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellow, and Danforth Scholar. Artist website.

Jon Young (b. 1981, Winston-Salem, NC) is a citizen of the Catawba Indian Nation in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Young explores the development of language and signage in the American West. Young’s wood, sand, and fabric sculptures, which he refers to as “waymarks,” adopt historical symbols from Paleolithic cave paintings, ancient Greek pottery, and imagery of Hollywood Westerns and Looney Tunes cartoons. Young depicts the histories and mythologies of the frontier, an ideological concept popularized by the historian Frederick Jackson Turner, which has signified both European opportunity and indigenous genocide. His recent solo exhibitions include Carl Kostyál at Intersect Art Fair, Aspen; J Hammond Projects, London; LCCC, Cheyenne, WY; and No Place Gallery, Columbus OH.  Young holds a BFA from the University of Wyoming. He was a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at Washington University in Saint Louis, 2018–19, and was awarded a Lighton International Artist Exchange Program Grant in 2020. Artist website.

2022 Jurors

Carmen Hermo is the Associate Curator for the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. She curated Roots of The Dinner Party: History in the Making (2017), Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Are We Reading Closely? (2020), Baseera Khan: I Am an Archive (2021, forthcoming), formed part of the Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall (2019) curatorial collective, and co-organized Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection (2018) and the Brooklyn presentation of Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 (2018) among other exhibitions. Previously, Hermo was Assistant Curator for Collections at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Hermo received her BA in Art History and English from the University of Richmond and her MA in Art History from Hunter College.

Jen Liu is a New York-based visual artist working in video, painting, dance performance, and biomaterial, on topics of national identity, economy, and the re-motivating of archival artifacts. She is a 2019 recipient of the Creative Capital Grant, a 2018 recipient of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art + Technology Lab grant, and was a 2017 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Film/Video and New York State Council on the Arts/New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Art. She has presented work at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Kitchen, and the New Museum, New York; the Royal Academy and Institute of Contemporary Art, London; Kunsthaus Zurich; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; the Aspen Museum of Art; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and  Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain, as well as the 2014 Shanghai Biennale and the 2019 Singapore Biennial. She has received multiple grants and residencies, including Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; Sommerakademie, Bern, Switzerland; De Ateliers, Amsterdam; and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Pioneer Works, and International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York.

Hamza Walker is Director of LAXART, a nonprofit art space in Los Angeles, and adjunct professor at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining LAXART in 2016, he was director of education and associate curator at the Renaissance Society, a non-collecting contemporary art museum in Chicago. Recent exhibitions at LAXART include Kandis Williams and Cassandra Press’ The Absolute Right to Exclude (2021) and Postcommodity: Some Reach While Others Clap (2020). Notable shows at the Renaissance Society include Suicide Narcissus (2013), Several Silences (2009), Black Is, Black Ain’t (2008), and New Video, New Europe (2004). Walker also co-curated (with Aram Moshayedi) the 2016 iteration of Made in LA. He has won the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement (2004) and the Ordway Prize (2010) for impact on the field of contemporary art. Walker was a juror for the 2004 Great Rivers Biennial and we are delighted to have him join us again for this anniversary edition.

Past Recipients