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 John Raymond Henry  (1943 - )

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Lived/Active: Tennessee/Florida      Known for: abstract geometric monumental sculpture, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
John Raymond Henry
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John Henry, whose studio in 2008 is in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is known for his large-scale public works of art.  In 2008, simultaneous exhibitions of his monumental outdoor sculptures were held across the state of Florida.  The project name was "Drawing in Space: The Peninsula Project", and the first opening was in Naples.  One of the venues was the waterfront Bicentennial Park in Miami, where the sculpture could be seen by cruise ships..  The artist lived in Florida during the 1980s and expressing much affection for the location said:  "We decided to use Florida as a canvas and paint a really broad-stroke picture of my work across the state." (Turner, 90)  Funding came from a variety of public and private sources including the Arison Arts Foundation, Comcast Corporation and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

Henry's works range in scale from small tabletop pieces to some of the largest contemporary metal sculptures in the world.  Other recent exhibitions of works include “New Monuments” at the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Missouri; “Back on the Plaza” on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile; “Real-Irreal-Surreal”, at Art-St-Urban in St. Urban, Switzerland; “OPEN” in Venice, Italy; and “ODYSSEY” at Purdue North Central University in Westville, Indiana. In 2008, he was also a featured artist in the Vancouver Biennale in British Columbia.

Art education included the University of Kentucky, University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received a Ford Foundation grant, the Edward L Ryerson Fellowship and earned a BFA.  He received an Honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Kentucky in 1996.

As a visiting professor of sculpture, John Henry taught at University of lowa, University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  In 2008, he held the position of Distinguished Professor of Art at Chattanooga State College. 

In 2002 he received the Governor’s National Award in the Arts from the State of Kentucky and in 2004, the Mayor’s Award of Distinction in the Arts from the City of Chattanooga.  Other recent honor’s include recognition on the floor of the Tennessee State Senate in 2004 and the 2005 honorary renaming of North Cermak Road “John Henry Way” by the City of Chicago in recognition of his contributions to Public Art on the local and national levels.

"As an active participant in promoting the arts Mr. Henry has served as a member of the Advisory Board of Lawyers for the Creative Arts in Chicago, a coordinator and advisor to the City and the Art Institute of Chicago for the "Sculpture in the Parks Exhibition" and as an advisor to the Art Council of Greater New Orleans for the "Super Sculpture New Orleans" Exhibition. Since 1991 he has been on the Board of Trustees of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, serving as Board member at large, Chairman of the Programs Committee and member of the Executive committee.  Since 1996 he has served the Board of the International Sculpture Center in various leadership roles, serving as Chairman for two years through the spring of 2002.  Mr. Henry has lectured extensively on the role of art in public places and is known as a strong advocate of all of the arts, not only sculpture."

"Mr. Henry was a founding member of ConStruct, the artist-owned gallery that promoted and organized large-scale sculpture exhibitions throughout the United States.  Other founding members include Mark diSuvero, Kenneth Snelson, Lyman Kipp and Charles Ginnever. Mr. Henry continues to curate exhibitions in the United States and in Europe; drawing on his nationally recognized expertise regarding sculptors and their work.  He is now the Curator of the Outdoor Museum of Art at Chattanooga State College, Chattanooga, Tennessee."

website of the artist:
Elisa Turner, "Using Florida as a Canvas", ARTnews, November, 2008, p. 90

Biography from Art Enterprises Inc.:
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, John Henry is a sculptor who builds monumental, geometric installation pieces from industrial materials.  He learned many of his skills from his father, who was a construction engineer, and his sculptures typically are 60 to 70 feet in height.

A high point of his career began in 1997 when he found what he regarded as a perfect spot for one of his sculptures on Chicago's Pier Walk.  Support came from the Chicago foundation, Art Enterprises Ltd., (AEL), which facilitated the building of Henry's Grand Rouge. A subsequent piece, called Fulcrum, for AEL is a 60 foot piece that will travel internationally.

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