UMBrella Speaker Series - Joyce J. Scott

Joyce J. Scott

On April 25, 2018, the UMBrella Group welcomed 2106 MacArthur Fellow Joyce J. Scott to talk about how she uses her artwork as commentary and biographical storytelling.

“The Art and Advocacy of Joyce Scott”

Read about the event in UMB News

Joyce J. Scott - Bio

Joyce J. Scott artist, sculptor, quilter, performance artist, installation artist, lecturer and educator. Named a MacArthur Fellow in 2016, Scott is best known for her figurative sculptures and jewelry using free form, off-loom bead weaving techniques, similar to a peyote stitch. One piece may be constructed with thousands of glass seed or pony beads, and incorporate various other found objects and materials such as glass, quilting, and leather. In 2018, she was hailed for working in new medium —a mixture of soil, clay, straw, and cement — for a sculpture meant to disintegrate and return to the earth. Scott is influenced by a variety of diverse cultures, including Native American and African traditions, illustration and comic books, and pop culture.

Scott is renowned for her social commentary on issues such as racism, sexism, violence, and stereotypes, as well as themes of spiritual healing.

“I make jewelry to be worn. And if it tells about scary, icky subjects, then so much the better for the person who has the cojones to wear it in public.”

Her mother encouraged her creativity and Scott began drawing in elementary school in Baltimore, Maryland. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art (graduated 1970), and an Masters of Fine Arts from the Instituto Allende in Mexico. Later, Scott pursued further education at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine.

Scott's practice includes performance in addition to sculpture. Her unapologetically critical and humorous personality is often employed in her performances to critique issues such as feminism, sexism, and racism. Like her jewelry and quilt works, her performance also often addresses storytelling and memory.

Scott's works are held by the Baltimore Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri, the Mint Museum of Art, North Carolina, the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, and the Smithsonian Institution.