Ryan Spencer Reed (b. 1979) is an American photographer who began documenting critical social issues in 2002, in east Africa focusing on the Sudanese Diaspora. In late 2004, he began to find an audience for this work in universities, museums, and galleries. The Soros Foundation awarded him with a grant in 2006 to reach additional audiences. The work evolved until ArtPrize 2011 where it was shown in its most comprehensive form with an accompanying book. While exhibiting and speaking internationally on the subject of Sudan, Reed photographed extensively on the hubris of empire amidst the twilight of the American industrial revolution with special focus on Detroit; work which is also touring in exhibition form and was launched at ArtPrize 2010. He is completing a long-term project on the modern incarnation of the Band of Brothers in which he followed the military unit through over a year of training and their deployment to Afghanistan. The immersive photographic and audio installation opened at the Grand Rapids Art Museum during ArtPrize 2014. As a reflection of the installation, a four-volume set of ‘zines’ (newsprint magazines), presented as artifacts of the project, will function as an interactive - printed page - media component. Ryan Spencer Reed and Richard App will collaborate for ArtPrize 2017 to create the effect of an oil-slick on the surface of the Grand River taking on the form of large-scale imagery captured by Ryan from the sites of last year’s Dakota Access Pipeline protest in Standing Rock, North Dakota. Monochromatic imagery - symbolic of the struggle for native land rights, climate change, fossil fuel dependency, and maintaining clean water - will be ‘tarnished’ through overlaying imagery of actual oil slicks. Utilizing billboard printing technology the team will achieve massive 60’ x 90’, element-resilient and river-friendly fabric prints, which will be installed so they float just off the river’s surface. From lower angles of view the pieces will take on an abstract presence of oil on water. From the higher vantage points of a city bridge or riverfront buildings, however, the imagery and broader meaning will come into focus. As a response to the forced construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline through treaty lands, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe established resistance camps. Throughout much of 2016 between the prairie and the Missouri River stood the whisper of a revolution. Thousands occupied once sacred lands putting their bodies on the line to raise the level of debate. They fought a constant battle leaning on non-violent protest tactics against an increasingly militarized police force, the oil companies, and the media. By late September, over 300 federally recognized Native American tribes joined in solidarity; the largest gathering of Tribes in recorded history. Alongside activists and veterans, they became known as the 'Water Protectors' drawing the attention of the world and reframing the struggles of native land rights, climate change, fossil fuel dependency, and maintaining clean water for future generations. For a complete project overview of Ryan’s work on the subject, please follow this link: https://spark.adobe.com/page/6u3QK7QjC8pcw/
Ryan Spencer's ArtPrize Entries
These are Ryan Spencer's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.
Ryan Spencer's Past Work
These are images of past work that Ryan Spencer has done.