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Visual Artist Sarah Sze Among MacArthur 'Genius Award' Recipients

Sarah Sze

Among the 24 recipients of the 2003 MacArthur Fellows, also known as "Genius Awards," is Sarah Sze, adjunct associate professor of visual arts at the School of the Arts.

Sze is an artist who uses ordinary objects to create strikingly original sculptures and site-specific installations. Her intricate works, each of which she constructs by hand, consist of unexpected and carefully arranged combinations of materials, such as plastic plants, candies, packing materials, nails, small desk fans, aluminum ladders, and occasional drips of water. Sze transforms these everyday objects into gravity-defying works in horizontal and tower-like formations that zigzag into the heights of gallery spaces. Finding inspiration from architecture and art history, Sze creates exuberant installations that provide the viewer with a sense of wonder, visual pleasure, and a novel way to look at familiar space.

Her work at Columbia is currently on display at the Wallach Art Gallery through December 13 in an exhibition entitled "Reflection: Seven Years in Print-The LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies." In this exhibition Sze offers an innovative and ambitious combination of offset lithography, silkscreen, and chine colle, in her two-print project "Day" and "Night." The work achieves a print equivalent, in both scale and imagery, to the artist's sculptural installations in which a myriad small components are magically brought together in room-size assemblages balanced or suspended in seeming defiance of gravity. (The Wallach Art Gallery is located in Schermerhorn Hall, 8th Floor. Gallery hours for the exhibition are Monday through Saturday, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.)

Sze received a B.A. (1991) from Yale University and an M.F.A. (1997) from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She has had solo exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, and the Fondation Cartier, Paris. Sze has participated in group shows in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, the Akademie der Kunste, Berlin, and the 48th Venice Biennial.

Through the MacArthur Fellowship, Sze will receive $100,000 annually for the next five years to pursue her interests.

Published: Oct 08, 2003
Last modified: Oct 08, 2003

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