Risa Puno: Group Hug

March 1, 2024–July 21, 2024

A photograph of the artist Risa Puno, a young woman with black hair, a warm colored blouse and grey jeans, sitting in a brown geometric pod. She is holding a pink and orange multi-sided structure in her hands. Her seat is made of green felted leaves. The walls and floors are all made of the same pink bamboo.
Risa Puno, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Group Hug, 2024. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

Would you rather work to care for others, or have others work to care for you?

Risa Puno’s first museum solo exhibition takes the form of an interactive installation that explores the complex social relationships inherent in receiving and providing care. Taking its name from the answer to a New York Times crossword clue— “Many-person act of support or affection”—Group Hug uses the language of games to weave together themes of caregiving, cultural identity, and familial dynamics. The result of a two-year residency and created in collaboration with the FWM Studio, the exhibition invites the public to engage in gameplay with unexpected incentives and outcomes.

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are presented with a choice of two paths: ‘Care For’ or ‘Cared For’. This implied question about what someone needs or wants, or perhaps just the role that they habitually fill, is the beginning of an immersive journey that blends elements of games and collaboration. Depending on their chosen path, visitors will either play an exhilarating multi-person game that evokes feelings of urgency, camaraderie, and either triumph or disappointment, or relax among green felted leaves in geometric pods that resemble giant coconut shells. For the artist, the dynamic interplay between these experiences is a manifestation of the work and effort that goes into caring for one another.

Inspired by recent events from Puno’s life that caused family members of varying generations to face new complexities and challenges related to giving and receiving care, this candy-colored installation represents Puno’s unique halo halo of experiences (a Tagalog term meaning ‘mix mix’) and is reflective of her multicultural background. Central to Group Hug and much of Puno’s work is the pre-colonial Philippine concept of kapwa, which represents a deeply shared identity and the belief that we have a moral imperative to care for others as we do ourselves. Group Hug offers a space for contemplation, interaction, and playful exploration about the impact of our choices on our collective well-being.


The Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19017

Eighth Floor Gallery

Plan Your Visit

This exhibition is included with free general admission.


Artists in This Exhibition

Downloadable Media and Related Links

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About the Artist

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Based in Brooklyn.

Risa Puno is a sculpture and installation artist who uses interactivity and play to understand how we relate to one another. Transforming recognizable pastimes and games into metaphors for complex social interactions, Puno creates unexpected points of access that allow people to tap into feelings of nostalgia, desire, competition, comfort, or frustration.

Puno recently completed public art commissions for the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston (2018); NYC Department of Transportation (2013–2014), and an Art in the Parks: UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant at Rufus King Park in Queens. In 2019, Puno created the acclaimed interactive public art installation The Privilege of Escape as the winning artist of the inaugural Creative Time Open Call, New York. Puno has participated in group exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum (2014), Franconia Sculpture Park, MN (2014); El Museo del Barrio, New York (2013); The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2012); The Queens Museum of Art (2010); Galerie Stefan Röpke, Cologne (2010); MMX Open Art Venue, Berlin (2010); and Socrates Sculpture Park, NY (2009).

Puno’s work has been covered by The New YorkerNPRHyperallergicThe Boston GlobeThe New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She studied art and medicine at Brown University and earned her MFA from New York University.

About the Curator

Group Hug is organized by Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs DJ Hellerman and Project Coordinator Franco Rodriguez in collaboration with the artist and the FWM Studio team.


Group Hug is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by Agnes Gund and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.