Elizabeth King

Professor Emerita

Elizabeth King combines precisely movable figurative sculptures with stop-frame animation in works that blur the boundary between actual and virtual object. Intimate in scale — a theater for an audience of one — and made to solicit close looking, the work reflects her interests in early clockwork automata, the history of the mannequin and the puppet, and literature’s host of legends in which the artificial figure comes to life.

She is represented by Danese/Corey Gallery in New York, where her solo show “Compass” will open September 10, 2015. Her work is in permanent collections nationwide including the Hirshhorn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hood Museum of Dartmouth, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Awards for her work include a 2014 Anonymous Was A Woman Award, a 2006 Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2002-03 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 1996-97 Fellowship in the Visual Arts at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, now the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Upcoming group exhibitions include “Uncanny/Figure” curated by Lilly Wei at Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in Long Island City, NY, opening September 20, 2015; “Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art” curated by Mark Scala at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, opening October 29, 2015; and a solo show at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, opening in March, 2017.

Group shows since 2014 included “Disturbing Innocence” curated by Eric Fischl at the Flag Art Foundation in New York; “Beautiful Beast” curated by Peter Drake at the New York Academy of Art; “Pause” curated by Teresa Reeves at the Zuckerman Museum of Art in Kennesaw, Georgia; the 2015 Invitational at the American Academy of Arts and Letters; “Intense and Fragile” curated by Paula Owen at the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas; “In Residence: Contemporary Artists at Dartmouth” at the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, New Hampshire; and “Post-Humanist Desire” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan. A mid-career retrospective exhibition entitled “The Sizes of Things in the Mind’s Eye,” curated by Ashley Kistler, opened in late 2007 at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond in Virginia, and traveled to Dartmouth College, the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska, the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, and the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia. The exhibition catalog contains essays by Nancy Princenthal and Ashley Kistler. King’s 1991 film animation “What Happened,” made with Richard Kizu-Blair, was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in November, 2006, as part of the exhibition “Black Maria Film Festival: The Legacy of the Short Film.”

King’s book, Attention’s Loop (A Sculptor’s Reverie on the Coexistence of Substance and Spirit) was published by Harry Abrams in 1999. She is currently finishing a second book, written with co-author W. David Todd of the Smithsonian Institution: a study of a Renaissance automaton in the Smithsonian collection and the legend behind it, entitled A Machine, a Ghost, and a Prayer: The Story of a Sixteenth-Century Mechanical Monk. The monk is the subject of a shorter essay, “Perpetual Devotion: A Sixteenth-Century Machine That Prays” included in the 2007 volume Genesis Redux: Essays in the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life edited by Jessica Riskin (University of Chicago Press).

King earned BFA and MFA degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute. She is Professor Emeritus in the Sculpture Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she taught for 30 years.

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