Song and Dance by Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet, Song and Dance, 2022, ceramic, hardwood, silver leaf, paint, sand cast and electroplated (with chrome and nickel) brass, 92" × 34" × 31" (233.7 cm × 86.4 cm × 78.7 cm) © Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet is a sculptor known for her effortless combination of disparate elements, precarious and provisional arrangements, and boundary-collapsing visual paradoxes.

With gravity-defying work that seems to tilt, contort, bend, and melt, Shechet’s sculptures appear to be set in motion while unearthing the expressive potential of material and forms and forcing us to sit with—and move around—its contradictions. Highly technical yet entirely intuitive, her work embraces improvisation and seeks to examine the humor and pathos of the lived human experience. Recognized by the CAA with the Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work (2016), Shechet has changed the landscape of ceramics since she began working with clay in 2007. Embracing the inherent duality of clay—its malleability and durability, its fragility and hardened strength—Shechet has led a resurgence of ceramic work in contemporary art through her experiments with glazes, hybrid forms, and pedestals by embracing risk, rejecting binaries, and leaning into—and driving dialogue between—the underlying tensions of not only form and material, but life itself.

Shechet has been the subject of many solo exhibitions, including All At Once (2015)—a major, critically acclaimed survey of her work at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston that the New York Times called “some of the most imaginative American sculpture of the past 20 years, and some of the most radically personal”—and Full Steam Ahead (2018)—an ambitious, large-scale public project installed in Madison Square Park, New York (2018). Like her work, Shechet’s approach to installation and curation is equally intuitive and playful, responding to the architecture and creating dialogue between works, sites, and spectators, inviting them into a space and ushering them through its choreography. Her curatorial vision has been shown most recently in Porcelain, No Simple Matter, The Frick Collection, New York (2016); From Here On Now, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2016); Making Knowing, The Drawing Center, New York (2021); STUFF, Pace Gallery, New York (2022); and Disrupt the View, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2022–25), which is currently on view. Recognized with grants from prestigious institutions such as Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and The NEA, Shechet’s work is held in over fifty public collections worldwide, including The Centre Pompidou, Paris; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She currently lives and works in New York City and The Hudson Valley.

Together: Pacific Time: 9 p.m. by Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet, Together: Pacific Time: 9 p.m., 2020, glazed ceramic, powder coated steel, 24" × 19" × 12-1/2" (61 cm × 48.3 cm × 31.8 cm), overall 12" × 19" × 12-1/2" (30.5 cm × 48.3 cm × 31.8 cm), ceramic 12" × 19" × 12-1/2" (30.5 cm × 48.3 cm × 31.8 cm), base © Arlene Shechet

Inhaled a Blue Moon by Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet, Inhaled a Blue Moon, 2021, painted hardwood, powder coated steel and silver leaf, 80" × 19" × 28" (203.2 cm × 48.3 cm × 71.1 cm) © Arlene Shechet