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Juan William Chávez



Juan William Chávez is an artist and activist whose multidisciplinary practice extends across public sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, and unconventional forms of beekeeping and agriculture. He often works collaboratively on social practice projects addressing environmental conservation, urban ecology, and food rights. His exhibitions focus on themes of the urban environment, ecology, craft/labor, activism, identity, and decolonization. Chávez has exhibited at ArtPace, Van Abbemuseum, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, McColl Center, Tube Factory Artspace, 21c Museum Hotel, Laumeier Sculpture Park, and the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis. Chávez presented works in Counterpublic 2021, one of the nation’s largest public art exhibitions, and in Estamos Bien, La Trienal 20/21, El Museo del Barrio’s first national survey of contemporary Latinx art. Chavez’s work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Art News, and e-flux. He is a featured artist in the publication Artists and the Practice of Agriculture-Politics and Aesthetics of Food Sovereignty in Art since 1960. His interdisciplinary approach to art has gained the attention and support of prestigious institutions like the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, Graham Foundation, ArtPlace America, the Andy Warhol Foundation, and Art Matters Foundation. Chávez holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Chavez was born in Lima, Peru, and raised in St. Louis.
Personal website

Beehives painted in bright colors on a bench, which is placed in the center of the tiled floor and surrounded by wood panels with plants to the sides. The tiling and panels both resemble beehives.

The Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary, 2018

wooden beehives, cedar, native plants, handmade hexagon concrete pavers. 15’ x 15’ x 7’.
Construction photos of people assembling beehives, making tiles, and sanding down wood.

Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary, 2018

The Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary (IBS) embraces the concept of working as a hive. Chávez teamed up with Bee Public, Solful Gardens and TeenWorks on the construction of the sanctuary.
Amid a glimmering, starry background streaked with blue, an architectural structure outlined in yarn of various colors.

Mesa, 2018

ink, alpaca yarn, raw linen. 25" x 25".
Various items placed atop a blanket, its edges golden and reflective.

Mesa Hive, 2018

Mylar survival blanket, beekeeping equipment, rope, linen canvas, hexagon concrete mold, dried plants, tools, beeswax, wood, Peruvian knitted mask. 5’ x 7’ x 15’.
A knitted mask, an ear of corn, and (what seems to be) a package atop a reflective blanket/fabric.

Mesa Hive (detail), 2018

Peruvian knitted mask. 12" x 12".
2) chavez, juan william

Survival Blanket (Decolonizing the Hive), 2023

beekeeping tools, ears of corn fashioned from glazed clay and carved wood, weavings and textiles, ceramic and concrete potatoes, baskets, and mate burilado (carved gourds), 17’ x 17’ x 4.5’
Courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center
1) chavez, juan william

Decolonizing the Hive: Native Bee Stewardship Network, 2023

Native bee sanctuary, Chemical-free teaching garden, Native Bee & Native Pant Zine and native bee & plant workshop
3) chavez, juan william

Collective Impact: Growing Safe Spaces, 2022

North City Garden tour, pollinator, and native plant workshop
5) chavez, juan william

The Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary, 2008

wooden beehives, cedar, native plants, handmade hexagon concrete pavers 15 x 15’ x 7'