Spring 2014 Talks: Sam Durant

About the Talk

Over the past 20 years Durant’s work has explored American history, drawing on its political movements, popular culture, civic monuments, architecture, and design. His diverse approach to artmaking navigates subjects such as the civil rights movement, 1960s-70s popular music, and Robert Smithson’s theories of entropy, among others. Long interested in public art, Durant’s major outdoor installation, Scaffold, was commissioned for Documenta, Kassel (2012). Most recently, from 2012–2013, Durant was an artist in residence at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles where he collaborated with the education department on a social media project called What #isamuseum?



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The Spring 2014 Series

Encounters: Artists, Cities and Communities

Through public commissions and site-responsive projects, the ways in which artists engage with the cities and sites they encounter continue to evolve alongside the communities and organizations that present their work. From citywide curatorial projects like Elmgreen & Dragset’s A Place Called Public in Munich, to Sam Durant’s investigation of historical narratives and their contemporary communities, and Katharina Grosse’s numerous site-specific outdoor commissions, considerations of place and people are always paramount to working in the public realm. The Spring 2014 Public Art Fund Talks series brings together a diverse group of artists to share the inspirations and practicalities involved in their varied approaches to the places and communities that become sites for public art.

About the Artist

Sam Durant (born 1961, Seattle) lives and works in Los Angeles. He has had numerous exhibitions across the globe including solo museum shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, Belgium; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome; and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. From 2005 to 2010 he was a member of the collective Transforma Projects, a grassroots cultural re-building initiative in New Orleans. His interactive public sculpture Scaffold, an immense wooden and steel structure first shown at dOCUMENTA (13), is on view at The Hague through fall 2014. Most recently, from 2012–2013 Durant was an artist in residence at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles where he collaborated with the education department to produce a discursive social media project called What #isamuseum? Sam Durant teaches art at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. He is represented by Paula Cooper Gallery in New York.