Creative Time

Announcing Creative Time’s First Open Call Artist Risa Puno

March 14th, 2019

Creative Time is pleased to announce that New York-based artist Risa Puno has been selected for the organization’s first open call. The public art project will take the form of an escape room game, Puno will use the activity’s format of puzzles and riddles to examine issues of social dynamics.

An increasingly popular pastime in the United States, escape rooms have many different themes and involve groups of people — friends, family members, coworkers — that agree to be “locked” together in a room with one hour to collectively solve their way out. Puno will employ this model to consider how privilege and inequity manifest when groups of people are asked to navigate problem-solving together. The project will give the public access to a playful, challenging experience intended to be a catalyst to spark dialogue and meaningful exchange.

“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,” said Risa Puno. “I am especially excited by the mentorship offered through the open call, because I’ve never received such substantial support before. It is certainly the riskiest, not to mention largest, commission I have ever worked with, and I will benefit greatly from Creative Time’s curatorial guidance and production assistance.”

Risa Puno is known for her interactive sculptures and installations that evoke feelings of nostalgia, desire, competition, comfort, and even frustration. Some of Puno’s previous projects include Please Enable Cookies, an interactive installation where Puno offered passersby homemade cookies in exchange for personally identifying information, such as their date of birth or mother’s maiden name, and The Course of Emotions: A Mini-Golf Experience, a fully-functioning golf course with 9 holes featuring different emotional obstacles like “Insecurity,” where players had to putt while standing on a wobbly seesaw platform.

“In surveying the landscape of contemporary public art it became clear that many of the same artists are repeatedly receiving major commissions. We wanted to disrupt that narrative by opening up the opportunity to work with Creative Time to the next generation of greats working in the field. We were so impressed and honored by the breadth and range of creative visions proposed to us through the open call,” said Creative Time Executive Director Justine Ludwig. “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 the organization’s inaugural open call for New York-based emerging artists — the first initiative of its kind in the organization’s 40 year history. Creative Time’s open call received applicants from all five boroughs of New York, with the top three exhibition formats being interactive installations, performance art, and sculpture works. Risa Puno’s project was selected by a committee of six individuals who share Creative Time’s mission in presenting public artworks that inspire and challenge the public: Paul Ramirez Jonas, Spencer Finch, Risa Shoup, Rashida Bumbray, Pablo Helguera, and Stephanie Ingrassia.