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Artist Designs Escape Room to Expose Privilege and Inequality for Creative Time Commission

Risa Puno’s project was selected from more than 600 applications by the New York public art nonprofit in their first open call

Portrait of Risa Puno. Photograph: Talisman Brolin

Portrait of Risa Puno, 2019. Photograph: Talisman Brolin

New York-based artist Risa Puno has been selected to create New York nonprofit Creative Time’s newest major public art project. Due to open this summer in New York, Puno will create an interactive ‘escape room’, designed to examine social dynamics.

Puno aims to use the escape room model, in which groups of people collectively attempt to solve how to escape from a puzzle room, to show how privilege and inequality are displayed when groups are asked to solve a problem together.

Known for her interactive sculptures and installations, Puno creates work that deals with themes including nostalgia, desire, and competition. In one 2014 work (Please Enable Cookies), the artist handed out free cookies in exchange for personal information.

In a press release, issued by Creative Time, Puno said: ‘I have wanted to work with Creative Time for so many years — it’s basically my crush of an arts organization. The project I proposed is a complex undertaking with sensitive material, and there’s not a better organization I could imagine partnering with to bring it to life.’

Creative Time Executive Director Justine Ludwig said: ‘Risa shares Creative Time’s mission in presenting art that sparks dialogue and addresses the timely topic of social dynamics. Just as we feel the public is important in making art accessible, we believe that institutions such as Creative Time can play a major part in supporting emerging artists.’

Puno’s project was chosen from over 600 applications from Creative Time’s inaugural open call for New York-based emerging artists, and the selection panel consisted of Paul Ramirez Jonas, Spencer Finch, Risa Shoup, Rashida Bumbray, Pablo Helguera, and Stephanie Ingrassia.

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