Jen Bervin


Jen Bervin

Jen Bervin is an interdisciplinary artist and poet whose conceptually driven works weave together art, writing, science and life in a complex yet elegantly simple way.

Bervin’s work often reimagines the historic as contemporary at radically different scales. Drawn to the possibilities of language and literature and their political dimensions, Bervin explores acts of reading, writing, listening, often through the lens of textiles or traditional crafts, to facilitate cross-cultural encounter, exchange, and feminist critique. Her upcoming project in China, Su Hui's Reversible Poem, in collaboration with Charlotte Lagarde, has been selected for a LAP Fellowship from Montalvo Arts Center and a 2016 Mandarin Oriental Arts Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council.

Recent major projects include Silk Poems, a poem written nanoscale in the form of a silk biosensor in collaboration with Tufts University’s Silk Lab, currently on view at MASS MoCA. Bervin consulted over thirty international nanotech and bioengineering labs, textile archives, medical libraries, and sericulture sites in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, with the support of a Creative Capital Grant, a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship. She is currently a SETI Institute Artist in Residence, a program that facilitates a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas between artists and scientists.

Jen Bervin (born 1972, Iowa) is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including The Rauschenberg Residency (2016) and a Creative Capital Grant (2013).

Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Des Moines Art Center (2018), BRIC in Brooklyn (2016), Granoff Center for the Arts at Brown University in Providence (2016), and has been featured in group exhibitions including Explode Everyday: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder at MASS MoCA (2016), Postscript: Writing After Contemporary Art at MCA Denver (2012), which traveled to The Power Plant in Toronto, Canada (2013), and The Eli and Edythe Broad Museum in East Lansing (2014); and Text/Messages: Books by Artists at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2008). Her work has been covered in media outlets such as Huffington Post, NPR, The Nation, LA Times, Artforum, Frieze, and The New York Times, and can be found in more than thirty international collections, including Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Stanford University, Yale University, and The J. Paul Getty Museum. 

Bervin has published nine books, including Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings (2013), with Marta Werner, named a Best Book of the Year by Hyperallergic, The New Yorker, and Times Literary Supplement. She is based in Berkeley, California, and is currently working in Cassis, France.