Harriet Bart (b. 1941) is a conceptual artist whose works often explore the themes of memory and commemoration. Bart grew up in San Francisco and received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota where she studied textile arts. In the 1970s, she became a founding member of the women’s artist collective W.A.R.M. She later became a founding member of the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art in Minneapolis where her studio is currently located.
Bart’s work spans a variety of media including installations, sculptural objects, books, prints, and textiles. Her art is often commemorative in nature, telling stories about events and places of personal or cultural significance and drawing attention to the sacrifices of anonymous or unacknowledged people. The installation Requiem (2003-11), for example, memorializes the American soldiers killed in the conflict in Iraq. In this work, the names of the soldiers are inscribed on large paper scrolls that cascade from the ceiling, while plumb bobs hover somberly over the ends of the scrolls resting on the floor. Drawn in Smoke (2010) commemorates the mostly immigrant women victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 through an installation of 160 drawings made initially with soot from smoke and then reproduced digitally.
Since the 1980s, Bart has used books both as sculptural objects and as bearers of images and text in her multi-faceted installations and other works. Since 2000, she has also made 12 limited edition artist’s books under the imprint Mnemonic Press. Many of these books complement a body of work focusing on a particular subject or theme that Bart has developed across several media.
Bart is the recipient of many awards, including three Minnesota Book Awards from the prestigious Minnesota Center for Book Arts. She has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, NEA Arts Midwest, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her work may be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Jewish Museum, and Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum, among many others.
In 2020, the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minneapolis will present “ABRACADABRA and Other Forms of Protection,” a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Bart’s work curated by Laura Wertheim Joseph. The Minneapolis Institute of Art will present a concurrent exhibition of Bart’s books and prints.
Works by Harriet Bart available from Boreas Fine Art:
Requiem. Paper, ink, plumb bobs, cord. 2003-2011. 12 x 12 x 36.
Bart, Harriet. Stevens, Wallace. 13 ÷ 14. Minneapolis: Mnemonic Press. 2004. [with Wallace Steven, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. ]
Bart, Harriet. Plumb Bob. Minneapolis: Mnemonic Press. 2009.
Bart, Harriet. Drawn in Smoke. Minneapolis: Mnemonic Press. 2011.
Silhouette II & Silhouette III. Pieces of black Arches paper sewn onto Fabriano Artistico paper, thread. 2016. Bart, Harriet. Patterns. Minneapolis: Mnemonic Press. 2016. [ with C.P. Cavafy, Clothes. ]
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