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Meet Kim Ye, multimedia artist and performer and 2023-24 CCSRE Mellon Arts Fellow

Kim Ye

2023-2024 Mellon Arts Fellow Kim Ye is an artist who brings a kaleidoscope of perspectives to a research-oriented practice. Beijing-born, LA-based. Sex-worker, educator, mother, and researcher. Performance, video, installation, and text artist. Even characterizations like interdisciplinary or multi-media fail to convey Ye’s remarkable breadth of skill, extensive body of work, and wide-ranging subject matter. Ye plays with the relationships between artist, medium, subject, and audience to create an experience that is confrontational but immersive, sometimes funny but always deeply unsettling. She works to bridge cultures, high and low, male and female, devalued and revered, and bring to public light discussions of the oppressed private.

For her Mellon project, Ye looks to “find the lines and different dimensions of who we are, our identities, that we can surface when we adopt different roles—like when I am a performer—and, while refusing for them to be flattened, bring these lines back together.” Ye’s project explores the (dis)connections between sex work, eroticism, domestic spaces, gendered power, and performances of femininity. Her performance work especially probes some of the most fundamental of social issues, breaking through to her audience by centering her own identities in creative statements that evoke the taboo to question norms for public and private desire, blur boundaries between personas, and open access to places of privilege-asking who has the permission to adopt a given role or inhabit a particular social or physical space.

Ye looks forward to collaborating with specialists and students, to ask Stanford and its Gen Z, “Hey, what’s going on?” Ye hopes to use her platform as a Mellon Arts Fellow to  “bring to the ivory tower” our “historically devalued spaces—the ones that are kept private” and to challenge how higher education represents power, gender, place, and desire.

-Bridget Algee-Hewitt