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 Ann Hamilton  (1956 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts      Known for: paper installations

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Ann Hamilton
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ann Hamilton began her residency at Dieu Donné, a workspace program in New York City, with a unique approach to the exploration of handmade paper. Informed by her initial training in textile design, and later an MFA in sculpture at Yale, Hamilton developed a practice focused on the relationships between tactile and linguistic experience in objects, performances, videos, and large-scale ephemeral installations. Exploring
both visual and verbal forms of apprehension and cognition, her work responds to the sensory knowledge of a body, a specific architectural condition, and the social contexts in which they occur.

Hamilton’s work in the Dieu Donné papermaking studio began by creating a series of geometric paper forms with embedded silk and raw wool, which included pockets for the hand, the arm, or the leg, enabling the sheets of thin abaca paper to be worn. Some shapes were conceived for individual use – a wing-shaped arm element for example – or others that could be worn collectively – a series of “mitten-like” hand pieces connected by fabric panels.

Recognizing how the paper works’ visual presence is transformed when activated by the body in motion, the artist began thinking about the work – not as a static object but as a vehicle of sound. The paper components rustle, rattle and reverberate when animated by the body. The project grew from contemplating how the mute action of a hand waving is greater than the call of one’s voice to signal at a distance, and how that motion could be amplified by the paper components.

My new weaving is a crossing of voices and time to form a cloth of embodied remembering. Paper Chorus
will explore the sound vocabularies – of paper, of reading, of singing – through a concert. Hamilton has described blank paper as both empty of words and full of space.

Thinking about how to auralize and extend that space of the page led to a conversation and collaboration with Bang On A Can, a pre-eminent international organization “dedicated to making music new.” Its founder David Lang was immediately struck by the project as a match for their Summer Festival and residency program held annually at Mass MoCA. Lang identified two of the organization’s Faculty and All-Star members, Mark Stewart (a composer, singer and instrument designer, and multi-instrumentalist) and David Cossin (percussionist, composer, and developer of sonic installations) who joined the project as advisors and will collaborate with Ms. Hamilton and Dieu Donné in the development of the composition for it’s premiere at the 2014 Summer Festival.

How the less material acts of speaking and listening might become the material of the work forms my current I explore how singular and unison speaking might form new wors, I am questioning not only the forms of but also the context for such works.

"Ann Hamilton: Paper Chorus", Organized by Dieu Donne in collaboration with Bang on a Can,


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A sculptor who produces extremely large to miniature works, Ann Hamilton strives for that which is structural and sensory. Her output includes photographs, text, audio, and video and she is especially known for huge installations numbering over sixty.

In 1998, she did a site-specific installation at the Miami Art Museum that included over 60,000 flowers, 13 shortwave radios, and a single seated attendant sewing together wool coats. The goal was sensual impact, to bring the smells and sounds of Miami into the room.

She lives in Columbus, Ohio where she was born. In the mid 1970s, she studied geology and literature and took up weaving at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. She then transferred to the University of Kansas at Lawrence where she studied with Cynthia Schira and earned a BFA in textiles.

She then moved to Banff, Canada where she started performance art and then Montreal, but returned to the United States to do graduate work at Yale University, receiving an MFA in 1985. Shortly after, she started teaching sculpture at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and traveled extensively with her installations. In 1991, she gave up teaching and moved to Ohio from where she continues to travel.

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