christopher robbins bio | contact

Lives/ Works: New York City

Christopher Robbins works on the uneasy cusp of public art and international development, creating sculptural interventions in the daily lives of strangers. He uses heavy material demands and a carefully twisted work-process to craft awkwardly intimate social collaborations.

He built his own hut out of mud and sticks and lived in it while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa, spoke at a United Nations conference about his cross-cultural digital arts and education work in the South Pacific, and has lived and worked in London, Tokyo, West Africa, the Fiji Islands, and former Yugoslavia.

He has exhibited at the Venice Biennial of Architecture, ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, New Museum Festival of Ideas, Trade School at the Whitney Museum, the National Museum of Wales, Nikolaj Kunsthallen/Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, and been awarded residencies or fellowships from Skowhegan, MacDowell Colony, Haystack, Penland and Anderson Ranch, among others.

The Ghana ThinkTank, which he co-founded in 2006, was awarded a Creative Capital Grant in 2013.


2009 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
2007 MFA Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
2000 MFA dropout Pratt Institute to move to London and Fiji.
1995 BA University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
1994 Tokyo International University. Japan.


2014 Ghana ThinkTank at Museum Arte Util, Eindhoven, Netherlands.
2013 Between Bodies, USC Roski School of Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CA. April 20 - May11, 2013
Come in, We're Open. Curated by Edith Abeyta, Owen Driggs, and Carol Zou. LACC, Los Angeles, CA.
Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL. May 24-Sep 1.
2012 Ghana ThinkTank at 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale. Official U.S. Presentation - Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good. Organized by the Institute for Urban Design. August-November, 2012.
The Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art. Ghana ThinkTank at Art Museum of the Americas. October 25, 2012 - January 13, 2013.
The Protest that Never Ends. Ghana ThinkTank at Artisterium - 5th Tbilisi Annual International Contemporary Art Exhibition. Tblisi, Georgia. October 2012.
Hong Kong & Shenzen bi-city biennale, The Ghana ThinkTank. Dec. 2011-Feb. 18, 2012.
ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art. The Global Contemporary: Art Worlds After 1989. Sept. 17th, 2011–Feb. 5th, 2012
2011 Insite: Art+Commemoration at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC). Sep, 2011.
Ghana Think Tank at Tania Bruguera's Immigrant Movement International. June 5, 2011.
Queen's Museum of Art, Creative Time Open Door Commission. May 8 - Aug 14, 2011.
Creative Time presents Ghana Think Tank at the New Museum Festival of Ideas for the New City. May 7, 2011.
Squat The Condos! Workshop at Trade School, New York, NY. April 10, 2011.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Sculptural Event/ Action Research in Trade School's A Coincidence of Wants. March 25, 2011.
Next Time Almost - a miniature statue of liberty. Chashama at the Donnell, 20 West 53 St (across from MoMA).
2010 Dumbo Arts Festival 2010: Collective Consumption.
Paradise, VOX POPULI Gallery. Philadelphia, PA. September 2010.
Eyebeam, New York, NY. Re:Group: Beyond Models of Consensus. June-August 2010.
Cambridge Arts Council Public Art Award 2010, Exhibition of Finalists (WPA-2010 with John Ewing and Carmen Montoya)
2009 LAND/ ART New Mexico. Pause. Harwood Art Center, New Mexico.
The National Museum of Wales, May you live in interesting times, Ffotogallery, Cardiff, Wales. The Ghana Think Tank.
Queens Museum of Art, NYC. Queens International 4. The Undiscovered Atoll of Flushtopia. As Anti-Fascist Culture Club.
RISD New England Alumni Biennial 2009, Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, Massachusetts.
FACT, Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology, Liverpool, UK. Climate for Change, group show on sustainability including Stefan Szczelkun,N55, Eyebeam, Melanie Gilligan and AIDS-3D. Curated by Heather Corcoran.
2008 Optimism. Westport Art Center, CT, USA. Curated by Michael Connor.
13th Pancevo Biennial of Art, Serbia.
2007 PERFORMA07, Action painter in re-doing of Allan Kaprow's 18 Happenings in 6 Parts. Deitch Studios, NY.
Nikolaj Kunsthallen / Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Denmark. The Tent Show.
RISD Museum. Providence, RI. Sitings 2007 Installation Commission.
2006 Duo Multicultural Art Center. Translations: Misguided Machines and Cultural Loops. New York, NY. Curated by Christiane Paul.
Pixileration Biennial, Autumn 2006. Providence, RI.
Provflux 2006. Mad Crow Collective. Psychogeographical art festival in Providence, RI.
Responsive Environments, Subtle Technologies Symposium Exhibit, Innis Townhall, Toronto, ON.
Sol Koffler Gallery. Providence, RI. Phenomenon.
Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, CT. Connectivity: The Tenth Biennial on Arts and Technology.


2013 Creative Capital Grant in Emerging Fields, Ghana ThinkTank
Artist Residency at Outpost Artist's Resources, Ridgewood, Queens/ Bushwick, Brooklyn.
2012 Nominated for 2012 Sargent Shriver Distinguished Humanitarian Award, National Peace Corps Association
smARTpower - an initiative of the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by The Bronx Museum of the Arts.
New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts Strategic Opportunity Stipend through Garrison Art Center.
2011 CEC Arts Link award
Puffin Foundation
Black Rock Arts Foundation
New York Art Residency and Studio Foundation, Brooklyn, NY.
2010 Frieze Foundation Cartier Award Finalist, for The Ghana Think Tank.
Ghana Think Tank awarded Creative Time / Queens Museum of Art Public Art Commission
Artist in Residence, The Wassaic Project. Wassaic, New York.
2009 Fellowship, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Skowhegan, ME.
Finalist, RGASA, NY Studio Gallery, New York, NY.
2008 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) awarded Fiscal Sponsorship for project 'Dirt for Nauru.'
Artist in Residence, Parfyme Harbor Laboratory, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2007 MacDowell Colony, Fellowship, Peterborough, NH.
Anderson Ranch, Brooks Fellowship. Snowmass, CO.
Artist in Residence, Kala Art Center, Berkeley, CA.
Artist in Residence, Nebraska Art Farm, Marquette, NE.
Haystack School of Crafts, Mary B. Bishop/ Francis S. Merritt Fellowship, Deer Isle, ME.
SITINGS Installation Commission Award, RISD Museum, Providence, RI.
2006 Rhode Island School of Design Award of Excellence, Fine Arts.
Stein Experiential Art Prize, Cross Cultural Cross-Media Art in Ghana.
Haystack School of Crafts, Mad Crow Fellowship Recipient.
Penland School of Crafts, Work-study scholarship recipient.
Artist in Residence, Kokrobitey Insitute of Art, Ghana.


The Art Assignment, PBS Digital Studios, Episode 1. (link)
Ghana ThinkTank at Museum Arte Util, Eindhoven, Netherlands. (link)
Cross-Cultural Think Tank, RISDNews, 06/06/2013. (link)
Ghana ThinkTank: Solving 'First' World Problems. One Loud Bellow, 5/3/2013. (link)
The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds. Edited by Hans Belting, Andrea Buddensieg, and Peter Weibel. The MIT Press (March 8, 2013)
Art Forum: Creative Capital Announces 2013 Emerging and Performing Arts Grantees. January 10, 2013.
Artinfo: Creative Capital Grants Upwards of $4-Million to 46 Projects for 2013. January 11, 2013.
The Washington Post. Artists go beyond the gallery walls. By Michael O'Sullivan. November 2, 2012. (link).
Architectural Inventions: Visionary Drawing of Buildings. Edited by Matt Bua and Max Goldfarb. Laurence King Publishers (October 31, 2012)
On New Creative Time Website, Artists Report From Around the World. Gallerist NY/ The Observer. October 10, 2012. (link).
Ghana ThinkTank's Top Five on CREATIVETIME REPORTS. October 5, 2012. (link). - Guerilla Art Fair: Art in Odd Places Returns to 14th Street. September 4, 2012, at (link).
Art Week - Washington Project for the Arts and Art Museum of the Americas Announce The Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art. September 1, 2012. (link).
A Study in Access: A Review of Nicholas Cohn’s Art and Social Activism. chashama. August 8, 2012. (link).
Interview: Christopher Robbins on Ghana ThinkTank. In Provisions Library: Arts for Social Change. July 24, 2012. (link).
Kony This: 'Ghana ThinkTank' Turns the Tables on White Saviors. Colorlines Magazine. March 22, 2012. (link)
Q8 CSPA Quarterly / Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts: The International Issue: The Sea is Rising, July 2012. (link)
Art in America Magazine: Heading up the Biennial Department: Q+A With Terence Riley. December 29, 2011. (link).
Shenzhen's Strada Novissima. Stylepark. 21 December 2011. (link)
World Architecture News: 2011 Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture programme announced. December 2, 2011. (link).
Design Boom: shenzhen & hong kong bi-city 2011 biennale of architecture\urbanism. (link).
Architecture Daily: Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture. November 5, 2011. (link).
Brian Lehrer Show, CUNY TV 75, October 18, 2011. (link).
Team America: Artists As Cultural Ambassadors. Art in America, October 2011. (link).
The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC.ORG: InSite: Art + Commemoration (link).
Ghana ThinkTank in the LandFill Archive. September, 2011. (link).
Straight Talk with Nigel Hollis: What brands can learn from the Ghana Think Tank. (link).
ARTNews: It's Not Just a Museum, It's a Think Tank. (link).
NYC ARTS: Ghana ThinkTank in Corona. (link). The Utopianist: Big Ideas in The US, Festival of Ideas Features Mobile Art Studio, Interactive Think Tank and More (link).
Ghana ThinkTank is Black Rock Arts Foundation 2011 Grantee (link).
Community Toolbox/ bringing solutions to light: The Ghana ThinkTank. June 3, 2011. (link).
Ghana ThinkTank at Immigrant Movement International. (link).
Purchase Professor Uniting Communities Through Art. Harrison Patch, May 13, 2011. (link).
New York Post: His students know 'squat', April 11, 2011. This article sparked a minor tabloid furor that spread to the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and the right-wing blogosphere. (link).
ARTINFO: The Art of Squatting: New York Art Professor Teaches Students How to Live Off the Man. April 12, 2011. (link).
Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands: Revitalising The WPA With Action Research. PSFK: Piers and Simon (Fawkes and King). (link).
Ghana Think Tank in Ma'ariv (Isarael), February 2, 2011. (link)
Wall Street Journal: Judgment Day in Queens, Five Artists Present Ideas for the Borough's Next Public Project.
July 31, 2010. (link)
The Roosevelt Institute: A DIY, Modern-day WPA Program. July 30, 2010. (link)
Art 21 interview with Christopher Robbins (link)
Queens Chronicle – Residents team up for a public project. August 12, 2010. (link)
Gangemi Design: Ghana Think Tank - Turning Aid and Innovation on their Heads. May, 2010. (link).
GOOD Magazine: Bringing Back the WPA, Because the Government Hasn't. April 26, 2010. (link) Ghana Think Tank - the World Majority Solves the First World's Problems. (link)
Deepcraft Interview with Christopher Robbins (link)
Rhode Island State Council of the Arts (RISCA) The inappropriate covers show. April 8, 2009. (link)
Lawrence Weiner Redux. In Migrating Reality. KHM - Kunsthochschule für Medien, Cologne, Germany.
Shedworking. Christopher Robbins: Albatross House. October 2008. (link)
Annual Art Harvest a cross-cultural artistic experience. The Grand Island Independent. Oct 26, 2007. (link)
Friday Live, October 26, 2007 program from Nebraska NPR. (link)
Newly sited. Cover Article, RISDviews, Spring 2007.
944/Phoenix. 2007. (link)
Arvore de Contraplacando. DIF Magazine. (link) The Providence Phoenix. May 23, 2007. (link)
Hi_res Magazine. (link).
Mocoloco. (link) / Networked Performance. April 19, 2006. (link)
We make money not art. April, 2006. (link)
Netdiver Interview with Christopher Robbins: thinker, author/activist + (web) designer. 2001. (link)
The Austin Chronicle, March 16, 2001. SXSW Web Awards. (link)


2014 Artist Talk. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia, PA. March 27, 2014.
Critical Referent. "Freehouse: Radicalizing the Local," an international symposium, workshop and deliberation organized by Jeanne van Heeswijk, Ashraf Osman and Pablo Calderon. Afrikaanderwijk, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Artist Talk. Pratt Institute. Critical & Visual Studies program. Brooklyn, New York.
2013 Artist talk/ workshop with Ghana ThinkTank at Open Engagement | Art + Social Practice, Portland State University, Portland, OR. May 17, 2013.
Artist talk with Ghana ThinkTank at California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia, California. April 18, 2013.
Artist talk with Ghana ThinkTank at University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California. April 20, 2013.
Artist talk at Tyler School of Art. Philadelphia, PA. March 28, 2013.
In conversation at Eyebeam Center for Art & Technology, 540 W 21st St. New York, NY. March 20, 2013 7-8:30PM. "Who gets to speak up?" A candid conversation about collaboration and participation with Huong Ngo,Christopher Robbins, and Kerry Downey. Part of the conversation series "Fucking Up: Learning from Mistakes in Art and Education."
Artist talk at Parsons the New School for Design, New York, NY. March 19, 2013. "Design Paradigms + Practices."
Distinguished Speaker Series, New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Manchester, NH. Jan 17, 2013.
In conversation with Valentina Curandi and Nathaniel Katz of the Pacifist Library, Nina Katchadourian, and Elizabeth Demarray, at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery 523 W 19th St, Chelsea, NYC. Jan 23, 2013.
2012 Christopher Robbins in Conversation with Mary Flanagan, Parsons The New School for Design. March 20, 2012.
Guerilla Public Art, Trade School at the Museum of Art and Design, New York. March 15, 2012. With Aaron Krach.
Public Project series on Collaborative Social Practice, Pratt Institute w18th Studio. March 6, 2012. With Aaron Krach.
How to be an Outsider, Artist talk at Tishman Auditorium, Parson's The New School for Design, New York, NY.
Audacity and innovation across cultures, at Wolff Olins Brand Consultants, New York, NY.
2011 Hubs and Spokes Panel at Bronx River Art Center, New York, November 22, 2011.
Presenter, Design at Scale: Building a Rigorous Ecosystem. DMI Design/Management Annual 36, New York, NY. October 25-26, 2011.
Congress of Collectives, Oct 1-23, various locations througout New York City.
Ghana ThinkTank presentation, exhibition and interventions at MobilityShifts Conference, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School, October 10-16, 2011.
Guest Speaker. Woodstock Digital Media Festival, Woodstock, VT. June 18, 2011,
Resident Artist Presentation, NARS Foundation, Brooklyn, NY. June 15, 2011.
Artist Talk, ArtGate Gallery, 520 W 27th St #101 New York, NY. June 4th, 2011.
Ghana ThinkTank presentation at MOMENTA. May 6, 2011.
City as Lab. Presentation at New School for Social Research, New York, NY. march 24, 2011.
Faculty Colloquium, New Faculty, New Work, SUNY Purchase College. April 12, 2011.
Squat The Condos: How to be a counter-culture dilettante, Trade School, NYC. April 10, 2011.
2010 Sensing the Global. Presentation at New School for Social Research, New York, NY. October 14, 2010.
The Ghana Think Tank: Developing the First World. In DESIGN>ED, South Africa. (No. 2, 2010, pp160-165) (link)
Panelist, Studio Fuse Artist Residency Roundtable. August 10, 2010. (link)
WPA 2010: Action Research Workshop. Eyebeam Atelier, New York, NY. (link)
Think Tank the Think Tank (with Ghana Think Tank). Eyebeam Atelier, New York, NY. (link)
Panelist, On Networked Solidarity. Eyebeam Atelier, New York, NY. (link)
Artist Talk. Barnard College, Columbia University, Urban Studies program, New York, NY.
Artist Talk. Cambridge Arts Council. Cambridge, MA. New Hampton School.
Community Action Research techniques. Trade School. New York, NY.
2009 Artist Talk. University of New Mexico Fine Arts program, Albuquerque, NM, USA.
2008 Techniques for multi-ethnic community collaborations: Working Across Cultures. U.S. State Department Speaker's Program. US Embassy Belgrade, Serbia.

The Cinema Works Again! on panel "Da li smo uradili to što smo mislili?" (Do you practice what you preach?). Old Military Theatre, Vranje, Serbia.

2007 Artist Talk. MacDowell Colony. Peterborough, NH. December, 2007.

Crossing Conventions in Web-Based Art: Deconstruction as a Narrative Device. Leonardo, Vol. 40, Issue 2. Cambridge: MIT press.

Other people's flowers: some personal reflections on researching as an outsider. In Indigenous Encounters: reflections on relations between people in the Pacific, Center for Pacific Islands Studies Occasional Paper Series, University of Hawaii, No. 43.