Ann Hamilton (b. 1956) is an artist whose work includes installations, performances, photographs, and sculpture. She studied textile design at the University of Kansas and then earned an MFA in sculpture at Yale University. The influence of these disciplines can be felt in her dense multisensory installations which often combine fabric, sculpture, soundscapes, and performance. Creating installations that respond to the architecture and cultural history of her chosen sites, Hamilton has garnered many awards including a MacArthur Foundation Grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has also been chosen to represent the United States in the Bienal de São Paulo (1991) and the Venice Biennale (1999).
Hamilton has created over than sixty installations worldwide and many of her photographs and sculptural objects are offshoots of these projects. One of her most recent installations was the event of a thread (2012-2013) at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. This installation consisted of an immense white sheet of fabric that was suspended from side to side across the space while connected by ropes and pulleys to a network of swings that viewers could use to move the billowing fabric. Other elements of the installation included cages of homing pigeons, a writer jotting thoughts on paper, actors reading from long texts, and radios broadcasting bits of these readings.
Hamilton’s interest in language and in the acts of reading, speaking, and listening often lead her to incorporate the making and unmaking of books and book objects in her installations. In indigo blue (1991), for instance, Hamilton explored the hidden history of indigo production and the slave trade in Charleston, SC. A platform piled with 14,000 pounds of blue work clothes dominated the space. Meanwhile, an attendant used saliva and an eraser to obliterate the printed text of a book thereby “making room for another story.” Another example of Hamilton’s creative work with books is human carriage (2009), in which a complex system of pulleys carrying bells and altered books was installed in the Guggenheim Museum to examine the theme of the transmission of cultural knowledge.
Books by Ann Hamilton available from Boreas Fine Art:
Hamilton, Ann. Untitled. New York: The New Museum of Contemporary Art and Sean Kelly. 1992. [ May Sophie. Little Folks Astray. Boston: Lee and Shepard Publishers. 1872. ]
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