April 15, 2009
Media only: Laura Baptiste (202) 633-8494
Media Web site: americanart.si.edu/pr
Media preview: Monday, April 27; 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform castoff materials into elegant expressions of identity and community. The exhibition "Jean Shin: Common Threads" will be on view at the
"For the past decade, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has focused on strengthening its commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions, awards and commissions, such as Jean Shin's new work 'Everyday Monuments,'" said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director at the museum. "I am delighted that the museum is not only celebrating Jean Shin and her thoughtful work that explores issues of community and identity in the galleries this spring, but also Washingtonians who contributed to making 'Everyday Monuments' a success."
Shin employs a meticulous process of dismantling and alteration to create evocative sculptural installations that are composed of everything from broken umbrellas and losing lottery tickets to computer key caps and old music records. The resulting assemblages consist of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of seemingly identical objects culled from the remnants of daily life.
"Shin's artworks are at once rigorously formal and emotionally resonant, mass-produced yet insistently handmade," said Joanna Marsh, The James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the museum, who organized the exhibition. "Shin departs from her predecessors, like Louise Nevelson, by expanding assemblage into the realm of the participatory. She not only focuses on the power of the objects themselves but also their relationship to the environment and the viewer."
Shin's most recent project, "Everyday Monuments," debuts in the exhibition. This major work was commissioned by the museum in 2008. The sprawling installation consists of nearly 2,000 trophies donated by Washington, D.C.-area residents and projected images of the altered trophies. Inspired by the well-known historic monuments and heroic statuary displayed throughout
"'Everyday Monuments' epitomizes Shin's art of the past decade," said Marsh. "This stunning evocation of the nation's capital and the American work force touches on ideas of community, memory and the body, all recurring themes in Shin's work. By giving new life and restored purpose to forgotten objects, Shin shows us that value and beauty can be found in the most unexpected places."
Jean Shin, detail: "Everyday Monuments," image courtesy of the artist
And check out the progress of the exhibition's installation on the museum's Flickr photostream!