Adriene Jenik to Step Down as ASU School of Art Director

Adriene Jenik is stepping down from her position as director for the School of Art at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in December.

Jenik joined the School of Art as director in July 2009, following an 11-year term with the visual arts department at the University of California at San Diego, where she served as chair before coming to ASU.

Under her leadership, the School of Art has become a leading fine arts graduate school, which ranks 20th in the nation according to 2016 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

During Jenik’s tenure, the School of Art moved several of its graduate programs to Grant Street Studios in downtown Phoenix, where it has artist studios as well as production, critique, and event spaces — and operates Step and Northlight galleries.

By this time next year, Jenik says, all of the School of Art graduate programs will have moved to Grant Street Studios. Originally, they leased space from Michael Levine, but ASU now owns the building located at 605 East Grant Street. 

“I’ve achieved many of my goals,” Jenik says of her time heading ASU’s School of Art. "These include recruiting and retaining world-class faculty who reflect the diversity and vitality of a growing Phoenix metro area."

Now, she’s looking forward to having more time for her own art practice, which has spanned three decades and included pioneering work in interactive cinema and live telematics performance.

Jenik will step into the academic role of full professor, teaching two courses each spring at ASU and residing in the Valley during those semesters.

In between she’s returning to California, where a five-acre studio compound she founded 20 years ago near Joshua Tree National Park has been used by hundreds of artists

It’s where she’ll base her own ongoing art practice in computer and media art, which explores the intersection of art and popular culture. Most recently, she’s created a Data Humanization Project meant to “re-assert the connection of data to human scale and context.”

Jenik’s work will be featured in the “Push Comes to Shove” exhibition opening October 1 at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and she’s doing a data humanization performance at ASU Art Museum on November 12 in conjunction with the “Energy Charge: Connecting to Ana Mendieta" exhibition. 

Making time for her own art practice while teaching and heading the School of Art has been a challenge, Jenik says. She’s looking forward to having more creative time, and thinks the change will be good for ASU as well.

“It’s important for institutions to change leadership in order to grow,” Jenik says.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that though she's moving to California, Jenik will reside in the Valley while teaching at ASU. 
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble