Raúl de Nieves

Raúl de Nieves was born in 1983 in Michoacán, Mexico and lives and works in New York. De Nieves, who works in sculpture and performance, attributes his art practice to his childhood education in Mexico, where he was taught to sew and crochet.

Originally planning to enroll in art school in San Francisco, de Nieves ultimately changed his mind and decided to study on his own, taking cues from his friends who were enrolled in classes, but leaving himself the liberty to follow his own instincts and interests—and allowing him to work for several years on the same pieces. De Nieves makes intricate sculptures using plastic beads that require intensive manual labor. He has gained recognition in both the art and fashion worlds, and has often worked with discarded shoes, resulting in pieces that are more fantastical than practical (though still possible) to wear. The expansive faux stained glass window and beaded sculptures he presented at the 2017 Whitney Biennial were among the exhibition’s most acclaimed works.

In a new film from our New York Close Up digital series, we watch artist Raúl de Nieves create an epic ‘stained glass’ mural for the 2017 Whitney Biennial.