Photo: Annette Hornischer

Conceptual Artist, New York

Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in the Visual Arts - Class of Spring 2016


New York-based conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll earned a BS degree with a minor in fine arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received her MFA in 1989 from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, where she studied time arts/filmmaking and architectural history. Carroll’s work as an artist engages a range of disciplines, from architecture, public policy, writing, performance/film, and technology. Despite an oeuvre spanning more than twenty years and a disavowal of any signature style, Carroll has been investigating a single, fundamental question: what do we consider a work of art? She is dedicated to political and social critique and explores the interactions of subjectivity, language, and power/knowledge.

 

Her ongoing opus, prototype 180, was started in 1999 and utilizes the lack of land-use policy in Houston, Texas, to make architecture “perform.” The catalytic moment took place in 2010 with the 180-degree revolution of a single-family, postwar home and its surrounding acre of property. A Carroll piece may involve something as seemingly effortless as the trademarking of the work of another artist, such as GEPPO.

 
Carroll has exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the Institutes of Contemporary Art in London and Philadelphia, Museum für Völkerkunde in Munich, the Renaissance Society in Chicago, and Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich, among other venues. Her work has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Lambent Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, MacDowell Colony, and Graham Foundation.