Dena Yago

Dena Yago - HIGH ART
Dena Yago approaches image-making from a conceptual position in which visual elements are first conceived as ideas, then taking physical form.

The assorted images that populate her allegorical, essayistic paintings, textile sculptures, and mixed media installations reflect the core characteristics of culturally ubiquitous image-based communication. Yago incorporates recognisable visual signifiers— advertising, memes, classic cartoons, and cultural objects—as harbingers of narrative and cultural shifts. Paired with texts and concrete poetics, Yago renders their meanings mutable, undermining mainstream narratives and suggesting alternative contexts. Utilising the language of corporate-speak, advertising, and pop culture, these works project a critical stance toward notions of production and consumption, mass market commerce, and networked aesthetics. Her work voices the anxieties of today’s precarious creative class.

This outlook can be partially credited to Yago’s keen sensitivity to the market forces that influence artists and audiences alike. Beginning in 2010, she and a small group of collaborators operated K-HOLE, a hybrid trend agency, and conceptual art apparatus focused on analyzing emerging currents of consumer culture, which famously coined the term “Normcore” in 2014, before shuttering the collective in 2016. Yet, she has continued to analyze the circulation of ideas through the expanded field of media, integrating practices and insights such as pattern recognition from her trend forecasting research in her artworks. Yago’s image-text pairings create a visual narrative that allegorically encapsulates the anxieties or beliefs of a cultural moment. While text is at the center of Yago’s practice, she explores larger-scale, tactile forms of media, requiring a slower, more embodied form of reading, in which language blooms and mutates slowly over time, revealing a sense of humor that is both absurd and critical.

Dena Yago was born in 1988 in New York, USA and continues to live and work in New York, USA. Recent solo exhibitions include: MoMA Ps1 (The Modern Window), New York, USA;  JTT, New York, USA;  High Art, Paris, France; Bodega, New York, USA; Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, USA; Sandy Brown Gallery, Berlin, Germany; White Flag Projects, Saint Louis, USA; Cubitt, London, England. Recent group exhibitions include: Gregor Staiger, Zurich, Switzerland; CAPC, Bordeaux, France; Amant Foundation, New York, USA; Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands; Bortolami, New York, USA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland; Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Germany; Cell Project Space, London, England.






Curriculum Vitæ

Dena Yago - HIGH ART
b. 1988 in New York, USA
Lives and works in New York, USA


Dena Yago at MoMA PS1 (The Modern Window), New York, USA
Body Hero, Sandy Brown, Berlin, Germany
Capacity, JTT, New York, USA
Industry City, High Art, Paris, France
Dry Season, Derosia (Bodega), New York, USA
Force Majeure, High Art, Paris, France
The Shortest Shadow, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, USA
The Lusting Breed, Bodega, New York, USA
Heck & The Divested Set, Sandy Brown, Berlin, Germany
In Escrow, High Art, Paris, France
You and You’re People, Boatos Fine Art, Sao Paulo, Brasil
Dena Yago, White Flag Projects Library, St. Louis, USA
a caelo usque ad centrum (with Laurie Spiegel), Cubitt, London, England
Distaff, Eli Ping Frances Perkins, New York, USA
Heat Island, Gasconade, Milan, Italy
Meadows on the Grid Float, with Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Deweer Gallery, Ghent, Belgium
Because Reasons, Malraux’s Place, New York, USA
A car ride driven topless taken alone Reminds major city thoroughfares of their Contracting hopes as they pass, to carry the Breasts of the driver, Sandy Brown, Berlin, Germany
ESPRIT, Tomorrow, Toronto, Canada


Those of Us, Sandy Brown, Berlin, Germany
Flatland, Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich, Switzerland
Barbe à Papa, CAPC musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France
SIREN (some poetics), Amant Foundation, New York, USA
Red Herrings For The Category Spell, Hudson House, New York, USA
10 works, Sharp Projects, Copenhagen, Denmark
Still Time, Fitzpatrick Gallery, Paris, France
Image Power, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands
On Orchids and Precarity, (Pogo Bar) KW Institute, Berlin, Germany
A Kiss Under the Tail, Arsenal Contemporary, New York, USA
Caisson, Diver, Charmer, Commercial Street, Los Angeles, USA
Human Applause, Bortolami Gallery, New York, USA
Title II, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montreal, Canada
Softcore, South Willard, Los Angeles, USA
A Spaghetti Dress for World Peace, Park View, Los Angeles, USA
Caring For Animals…Benefiting People, Jeffrey Stark, New York, USA
I’m Nobody , High Art, Paris, France
Teeter, Carl Louie, London, Ontario, Canada
Ministry of International Affairs Intimacy as Text, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland
Made in L.A. 2016 : a, the, though, only, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, , USA
Columbidae, Cell Space, London, England
Lands’ End, Bodega, New York, USA
Joshing the Watershed, Del Vaz Projects, Los Angeles, USA
Who Are Who, Studio for Propositional Cinema, Düsseldorf, Germany
Musique Concrete, Michael Thibault Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Unlock the Gates, JTT Gallery, New York, USA
Dingum “A Matter of Taste”, The Ister at -1, Paris, France
Revelry curated by Tenzing Barshee, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Santal 26 / 33, curated by Tara Downs, Grand Century, New York, USA
Bloomington: Mall of America, North Side of Food Court, Across From Burger King The Bank of Payphones That Don’t Take Incoming Calls, Bortolami, New York, USA
Urbanities, James Fuentes, New York, USA
NPR Bar, Know More Games, Miami, USA
Day Before This Place, curated Tara Downs, Tanya Leighton, Berlin, Germany
L.I.I.T., curated by Carlos Reyes, Eli Ping, New York, USA
Smiler’s Delicatessen, curated by Jason Lee and Ben Schumacher, Smiler’s Deli, New York, USA
Roman à clef, Bodega, Philadelphia, USA
The Art of Cooking, curated by Hanne Mugaas, Royal/T, Los Angeles, USA
Ten Ten, Jason Alexander, New York, USA
UP AND PEARS L THE S, Emily Harvey Foundation, New York, USA
Combine #1, Cage, New York, USA
Formless Painting, Andrew Roth, New York, USA
Four Seasons I, Senior Thesis Exhibition, Leroy Neiman Center, Columbia University SoA, New York, USA
Multiplex, curated by VVORK, Peer to Space, Münich, Germany
Uncontrollable Flesh, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA
Larry’s Non-Profit State of Mind, Cleopatra’s, New York, USA
Can’t Rape the Willing, Second Floor Gallery, New York, USA
Rundgang, Universität der Kunst, Berlin, Germany
Single White Female, Second Floor Gallery, New York, USA
Larry’s Canadian Sculpture and Image, Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
Single White Female, Second Floor Gallery, New York, USA
The Living and the Dead, Gavin Brown Enterprise, New York, USA