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Interview Extraordinaire: Eleanor LeBeau

Eleanor LeBeau is a Cleveland, Ohio-based visual arts writer and critic. Her exhibition previews and reviews, feature stories, museum guides and arts-related news articles have appeared in Art Papers, Contemporary, Cleveland Scene, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Northern Ohio Live, Sacramento News & Review and Sactown Magazine. While her subjects have ranged from Rembrandt’s etchings to Warhol’s silkscreens, LeBeau’s area of specialization is the intersection of cultures expressed in contemporary American art, with an emphasis on the work of North American indigenous artists. Other areas of interest include Performance Studies, social practice (relational art), video art, “post-identity” identity politics and institutional critique.

In 2007, she earned an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She wrote an interdisciplinary, book-length thesis on the work of James Luna (Luiseño), a California-based performance and multi-media artist who represented the National Museum of the American Indian at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Trickster Plays: James Luna Performs Postindian Survivance—based on extensive interviews with the artist, archival research and travel throughout California’s Indian Country—analyzes Luna’s performance strategies and his oeuvre’s interrogation of dominant U.S. cultural discourse. Trickster Plays demonstrates how Luna’s visual art and live performances redefine contemporary indigeneity.

LeBeau was raised in Rocky River, Ohio and earned a B.A. in Magazine Journalism and a B.A. in Art History from Kent State University, where she studied with Dr. Fred T. Smith, a specialist in the visual culture of Africa. In the early 1990s, she interned at Cleveland Museum of Art’s office of communications and marketing.

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