Biography

Born in Southern California in 1976, Brian Goeltzenleuchter was raised in a culture that placed great value on consumption, display, and performance. Goeltzenleuchter's artwork and design infuses interdisciplinary research into the creation of participatory environments, scripted and improvised performances, olfactory art, drawing/painting and object making. From 1998-2015 the locus of his practice was Contraposto Living (formerly Contraposto Home Décor Company), a participatory artwork that took the form of a legitimate lifestyle company that offered products and services to the general public and cultural institutions. The retail wing of Contraposto is concerned with the sociology of art and taste: How do people "use" objects to shape identity? How does an object's meaning change throughout time? How does an object inscribe meaning on a person, and how does a person inscribe meaning on an object? The institutional wing of Contraposto is concerned with the legacies of Institutional Critique: How is culture transmitted in an era of globalism? What are the structural, political, and social forces that act on cultural institutions, thereby shaping the way culture is programmed and disseminated.

Goeltzenleuchter is interested in antagonism as a generative tactic; his recent work pits the social benevolence of community-based practices against the trickery and spectacle of the aesthetic or designed environment. Through conducting events designed to destabilize – to function outside of the socially-prescribed behavior of either an artwork or a business – he tests propositions without coercing prescribed outcomes.

Goeltzenleuchter’s research in non-western art history, sociology, and the senses – particularly smell and touch – has instilled in his work the following values: The senses rarely work in isolation. To think of an art audience as “viewers” reinforces a hierarchy of vision at a time in history when limits of visuality have increasingly been called into question; to think of an art audience as an “audience” precludes the potential for collective authorship. The meaning of a work of art is defined, in part, by the way it is used in the (sub)culture.

Collaboration is a key element in Goeltzenleuchter’s practice. In addition to deep collaboration with art institutions and members of related subcultures, Brian actively pursues ventures that fall outside the art world. He has worked with engineers (Olfactory Memoirs, 2015), criminologists and technologists (The Art | Crime Archive, 2013), avant-pop musicians (Terre Sauvage, 2012), a poet (Smelling the City, 2011), research scientists (When to throw a painting to a drowning man, 2011), virtual reality designers (Second Scape, 2007), and venture capitalists (A Shareholder’s Meeting, 2000).

Brian Goeltzenleuchter earned his MFA in 2001 at University of California San Diego. From 2002 - 2008 he was Associate Professor of Art and Director of the MFA Program at Central Washington University. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public and Urban Affairs at San Diego State University. He serves on the faculty of Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine, a non-profit Foundation with educational and research objectives in the field of International Translational Medicine. 

Selected projects include: Volatile!, The Poetry Foundation, Chicago (2015); Sillage, Santa Monica Museum of Art (2014); Adaptive Equipment, Lust Gallery, Vienna, Austria (2011); c (pronounced /k/) Wellness Centre, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Canada (2010); c Boutique, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2010); Sponge X Sponge, Colorado State University (2007); Institutional Wellbeing, Centrum Beeldende Kunst, The Netherlands (2006); Who’s not for sale, Banff Centre, Canada (2006).