About the Artist


CASSILS is a visual artist working in live performance, film, sound, sculpture and photography. Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture.

Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics; Cassils forges a series of powerfully trained bodies for different performative purposes. It is with sweat, blood, and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around ideologies and histories.


Cassils shows their work internationally.
Solo exhibitions include:

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Macedonia Museum of Fine Arts; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha; Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; MU Eindhoven, Netherlands; Trinity Square Video, Toronto

Cassils’ work has been featured in museums and galleries world-wide:

Deutsches Historisches Museum and the Schwules Museum, Berlin; Institute for Contemporary Art and The National Theatre, London; MUCA Roma, Mexico City; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City; ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio, Finland; Museo da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, Brazil; Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica; and Deutsches Historishes Museum, Berlin, Germany

Cassils is the recipient of:

USA Artist Fellowship (2018), Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), Creative Capital Award (2015)

Cassils’ work has been featured in:

New York Times, Boston Globe, Artforum, Hyperallergic, Wired, The Guardian UK, TDR, Performance Research, Art Journal, Vogue Brazil

Cassils’ films have premiered at:

Sundance Film Festival (Utah), Out Fest (Los Angeles), The Institute for Contemporary Art (London)


Cassils received their bachelor’s degree from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a Masters degree in visual arts and integrated media from the California Institute of the Arts. Cassils has adjudicated exhibition selections at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and currently is a lecturer in the Art Department at Stanford University. Cassils is the curator of Vital Signs, a performance series at Stanford University which aims to highlight and showcase underrepresented performance forms such as experimental performance art, durational art, and body art.


Career in Brief


Born Toronto, Canada
Raised Montreal, Quebec
Lives in Los Angeles, California, USA

2002 MFA Art and Integrated Media, California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, CA
1997 BFA Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, NS, Canada
1996 Ecole Nationale Superieur des Beaux Arts, Paris, France

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships

Fellowship, The Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio Center
Canada Council for the Arts Explore and Create Grant
Canada Council for the Arts Touring Grant
Canada Council for the Arts Travel Grant
United States Artists Fellowship
Herb Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship, Theater

John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
COLA Individual Artist Fellowship
Canada Council for the Arts Concept to Realization Grant
Canada Council for the Arts Travel Grant

Alpert Visiting Artist Fellowship, Syracuse University
Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant

Creative Capital Visual Artist Award
Canada Council for the Arts Media Arts Grant
Canada Council for the Arts Inter-Arts Touring Grant
Canada Council for the Arts Inter-Arts Travel Grant

(for more, see full CV)

Solo Exhibitions

Perth Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

Station Museum, Houston, TX

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Monumental, New York, NY
National Gallery of the Republic of Macedonia, ExPEAUSition, Skopje, Macedonia
Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Cassils: The Phantom Reverent, Omaha, NE

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Melt/Carve/Forge: Embodied Sculptures by Cassils, Philadelphia, PA
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University, Breaking News: Cassils, Boston, MA

MU, Incendiary, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Trinity Square Video, Cassils: Compositions, Toronto, Canada

Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Body of Work, New York, NY

Group Exhibitions

Art Gallery Burlington, The Gender Conspiracy, Burlington, Ontario
Dark Mofo, A Forest, Hobart, Tasmania
The McNay Art Museum, Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today, San Antonio, TX
Artothèque of Strasbourg, Corps-à-Coeurs, Strasbourg, France
French National Museum Mucem, Shall We Dance, Marseille, France
MASS MoCA, Suffering from Realness, North Adams, MA
Oakland Museum of California, Queer California: Untold Stories, Oakland, CA
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Building A House Without Walls: The Value of Sanctuary, New York, NY
Gazelli Art House, It's Not Me, It's You, London, UK

Museum of Contemporary Art, Blessed Be: Mysticism Spirituality, and the Occult In Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ
Bureau of General Services—Queer Division Division, Cast of Characters, New York, NY
Navel, Queer Biennial, Los Angeles, CA
SOMA Arts, A History of Violence, San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, City of LA Individual Artist Fellowships Exhibition, LosAngeles, CA
VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Declaration, Richmond, VA
Houston Center for Photography, Margin and Center, Houston, TX
Kunstpalais, Altered Substances, Erlangen, Germany
Boehm Gallery at Palomar College Ceramic Biannual, Humanize, San Diego, CA
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Haptic Tactics, New York, NY
University of Victoria Transgender Archives, Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, Victoria, BC
National Gallery of Art, Sopot, Poland, January

Everson Museum, Seen & Heard, Syracuse, NY
P.P.O.W., Visual Notes From An Upside Down World, NY, NY
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Art on the Front Lines, NYC, NY
SOMArts, Self to #Selfie, San Francisco, CA
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Digital Aura, Madison, WI
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, New York,NY
Beall Center for Art and Technology, UC Irvine Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Masculine ← → Feminine, Irvine, CA
Wignall Center for Contemporary Art, Chaffey College, Man Up! Masculinity in Question, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, The Ecstasy of Mary Shelley, Los Angeles, CA

(for more, see full CV)


Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, Austria, Inextinguishable Fire, 103 Shots, Fast Twitch// Slow Twitch

Outsider Festival, Early Career Retrospective: Cassils, Austin, TX
M+, at West Kowloon, Hong Kong, China, Inextinguishable Fire

Live Art Development Agency, at Venice International Performance Art Week, The Powers That Be 
International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Cuts: A Traditional Sculpture
Sundance Film Festival, New Frontiers, Park City, UT, Inextinguishable Fire

UNSW Galleries, Sydney, Australia, Hard Times
Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo, Brazil, Hard Times
Fort Mason Center for Art & Culture, San Francisco, CA, Hard Times
ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio, Finland, Inextinguishable Fire/Hard Times
Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José, Costa Rica, Hard Times
Asian Experimental Video Festival, Hong Kong, China, Hard Times
Festival Ciné à Dos, Koulikoro, Mali, Hard Times
Art Cinema Zawya, Cairo, Egypt, Hard Times

SOMA Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA, Hard Times
Cultureel terras de Kaaij, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Hard Times
3e Festival Everybody’s Perfect, Geneva, Switzerland, Fast Twitch//Slow Twitch
Newfest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, New York, NY, Conversations
Outfest Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA, Conversations
Counterpulse Theatre, San Francisco, CA, Hard Times

Institute for Contemporary Art, London, UK, Fast Twitch//Slow Twitch

Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA Fast Twitch//Slow Twitch
Dirty Looks On Location Festival, New York, NY, Fast Twitch//Slow Twitch

International Film Festival Cinema Le Melies, Art Center of the Maison, Paris, France, 10104 Angelo View Drive
Palms Festival, Palm Springs, CA, 10104 Angelo View Drive

Live Performances

Perth Festival, Perth Australia, Becoming an Image
Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania, Tiresias

Station Museum, Houston, TX, Solution; performance featuring Cassils, Rafa Esparza, Fanaa, and Keijuan Thomas
Biosphere 2, Oracle, AZ, Cyclic, as part of Blessed Be: Mysticism Spirituality, and the Occult In Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ; performance featuring Cassils, Ron Athey, and Fanaa
Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, Austria, Becoming an Image
Stanford University, Sweat Paintings
University of Victoria Transgender Archives, Victoria, BC, Becoming an Image

Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE, Monument Push
Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE, Becoming An Image

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, Becoming An Image
The Broad, Los Angeles, CA, The Powers That Be: Los Angeles

MU, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Becoming An Image
SPILL Festival of Performance, closing performance, National Theatre, London, UK, Inextinguishable Fire
City of Women International Festival of Contemporary Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Becoming an Image
ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival, Kuopio, Finland, The Powers That Be [210 Kilometers]
Fredric March Play Circle Theatre, University Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, Becoming An Image

(for more, see full CV)

View Full CV

“When we look at this work we look at the artist, but their skill lies in demanding our gaze move beyond the extraordinary set of practices that constitute the specific human body before us, and towards something that we could quite unflinchingly call the human condition. This artist takes their body and makes it, works it, into something else, something that questions how we see each other, how we seek to manipulate ourselves, our bodies and our lives. It is deeply ethical work as it poses crucial questions around the aestheticization and commodification of our bodies and ourselves.”


Image and media credits for this page: Close details. See the details.

Becoming An Image Wallpaper
(Perth Institute of Contemporary Art), 2019
photo: Cassils with Manuel Vason
Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York

Cassils Portrait
Photo: Robin Black