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American, b. 1943 – d. 2005

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Judith Scott was born with Down syndrome and lost her hearing soon after birth from scarlet fever. Scott was institutionalized from the time she was seven years old until she was forty-four; at that time, her sister gained custody of her and took her to San Francisco. While there, Scott enrolled at the Creative Growth Art Center, where she began making sculpture.

Scott constructed her sculptures by assembling discarded objects she found, and sometimes stole, from the Creative Growth Art Center. She meticulously wrapped these objects together with yarn and fabric until they re-formed into one new object. The found objects that had once functioned as a fan, a hair dryer, a book, or a chair, abandoned their function in the transformative hands of Scott.

Scott’s work challenges the traditional definition of the artist: does her lack of understanding or articulation of a philosophy mean that her art has less value? Perhaps it causes us, instead, to question the ways in which we make and quantify meaning.

Fried  :  Horn  Sanderson  :  Scott  Splan
Nancy Fried, Torso with hands on hips
untitled (JS 25), 1995
Mixed Media (fiber and found objects)