Nicolas Shake, TPV: Ave 50 and San Rafael, 2018. Polycaprolactone, petroleum, ash, palm frond, dirt, hardware. 93 x 84 ¼ x 13 in.

Nicolas Shake is Chinati’s artist-in-residence from May through June 2019. Shake was born in Northridge, California and lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, 2008) and Claremont Graduate University, where he earned his MFA in 2011. Shake is a multimedia artist working in painting, photography, and sculpture, with a focus on reframing the everyday human-made detritus that he encounters on the border of the city and the desert. Shake’s sculptures and large-scale installations, made primarily with these discarded materials and arranged into carefully lit tableaux, have been staged along southern California’s San Andreas Fault Line from Coachella Valley to the Salton Sea and via Vast Space Projects in Las Vegas.

Of his approach to making work, Shake has written: “I focus on the cast-off household and utilitarian items that show up in the desert on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The items I engage with could easily be categorized as rhopography, but it is this insignificance that gives them the ability to be reassigned a new aesthetic value, transforming the rubbish into something unexpected by capturing and conveying its uncanny power and peculiar beauty.”


The Chinati Foundation's Artist in Residence program is generously supported by the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation and the Chinati Contemporary Council. Chinati is grateful for the generous financial support of our members and the support and in-kind contributions of the people of Marfa.