The Institute for Expanded Research (IER) supports artist-led inquiry, activates non-traditional sites and resources for the production and presentation of contemporary art, and provides research and organizing services across sectors.

An artist project and research initiative, IER engages specific sites, topics, and people as a point of departure to explore the potential for dialogue and collaboration. IER invites artists, researchers, and other practitioners to share ideas, strategies, skills, and creative work with the ultimate aim of exploring the role artists play in society by giving proximity to their thinking and working processes.

Nebulous and flexible, IER is a constellation of practices and projects taking many forms. Current work includes engaging Press Press to produce and present a project and publication at the George Peabody Library and providing research support to United States Artists and Ford Foundation to develop a program aimed at increasing the visibility of disabled cultural practitioners across disciplines and geography.

IER was founded by Lu Zhang, a multi-disciplinary artist who works in installation, sculpture, drawing, and text – often in response to a chosen site. As deputy director of The Contemporary, a non-collecting nomadic museum in Baltimore, Lu broadened the museum’s role to include providing services for artists and cultivating new resources such as the Grit Fund and an inaugural Artist Retreat.