The Research Program
The Wattis trusts, supports, and centers artists. While an exhibition program of (mostly) solo shows forms one part of our approach, we also operate as a research institute, where an entire year is dedicated to reflecting on the questions posed by a single artist’s work.

Instead of an exhibition, this year-long “season” creates a collective conversation around a broad set of themes and subjects as they relate to the work of a single artist. This sustained period of attention involves an intimate reading group as well as a year-long series of public events that explore a diverse and varied ecosystem of other artists and related ideas.

For each research season, the Wattis Institute:

- has one artist “on our mind” (not on view but on our mind: there is no exhibition involved)

- asks: how does this single artist’s work speak to broader questions about art, culture, and society today?

- convenes a monthly reading and discussion group with CCA faculty members along with local artists, art historians, and others

- produces a year-long series of public lectures, screenings, performances, field trips, workshops, and other public events with artists and thinkers from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines

- provides an online archive of audio and video recordings of all public events

- commissions and publishes thematic essays

- produces a publication

- produce an issue of an annual reader, A Series of Open Questions

Past seasons have been dedicated to Cecilia Vicuña (2020-2021), Trinh T. Minh-ha (2019-2020), Dodie Bellamy (2018-2019),Seth Price (2017-2018), David Hammons (2016-2017), Andrea Fraser (2015-2016), and Joan Jonas (2014-2015).

Click on each name for a complete archive of events, essays, and publications or click here for the overall research archive.

The Wattis is also an exhibition venue. Click to learn more about that side of our activities.


Michelle Kuo lecture
Michelle Kuo lecture

Jacqueline Francis and Charles Burnett
Jacqueline Francis and Charles Burnett

Yuji Agematsu performance
Yuji Agematsu performance

Andrea Fraser performance
Andrea Fraser performance


Karin Schneider performance
Karin Schneider performance

Tonya Foster lecture
Tonya Foster lecture

Young Joon Kwak and Kim Ye performance
Young Joon Kwak and Kim Ye performance