Aria Dean was born in 1993 in Los Angeles. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in studio art at Oberlin College, Dean returned to Los Angeles, taking a position as a social media strategist for the Museum of Contemporary Art. In many respects Dean’s early engagement in the digital sphere of an institution prefigured the questions she posed around Blackness within the emergent internet culture. She has examined the generative and gratuitous workings of online cultural production, from how the circulation of memes maps onto Blackness to the tepid visibility politics of selfies. Many of these ideas find form in Dean’s writing for publications such as Real Life Magazine, Texte zur Kunst, e-flux, Artforum, and Art in America, to name a few. Her eventual appointment as assistant curator of net art and digital culture at Rhizome underscored the renewed interest in art made for the internet. The kernel in all this is Dean’s artistic practice, which serves as the impetus for her writing and curating, the two activities offering prescriptive signposts that order how she makes objects in the service of the abovementioned ideas. The way she grapples with these ideas in visual form becomes a material experiment in the repetitive structure within Black cultural forms that welcomes variability. Dean has shown her works in solo and group exhibitions at Metropolitan Art Centre (MAC), Belfast, Ireland (2019); Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (2019); Het Hem, Amsterdam (2019); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2019); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2018); Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2018); and The Sunroom, Richmond, Virginia (2017), among others. She has presented performance works at Swiss Institute, New York (2018), and Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2019).
Additional support for Aria Dean's production for a cube, 2020, and King of the Loop, 2020 is provided by Pioneer Works for Made in L.A. 2020: a version.