Ben Jurgensen

MFA, 2010

Ben Jurgensen received a BFA in Fine Art from the Corcoran College of Art & Design in 2008 and an MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010. He has held positions as Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Visiting Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Sculpture Department at RISD. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in cities including Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, Richmond, Austin, Istanbul, Doha and Dubai.His work has been reviewed in The Washington Post, Art Papers, Sculpture Magazine, The Washington City Paper and Artnet among others.

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What have you been up to since graduating from VCU?

Almost immediately after graduating I moved to the Middle East to work at VCU’s branch campus in Doha, Qatar. In Doha, I managed the school’s digital fabrication lab and woodshop and taught courses in sculpture, 3D design, and digital fabrication. After three years in Doha, I took a position in the Department of Art + Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Sculpture Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. I have continued to make and show work both in the United States and abroad and am in the process of setting up a studio in Providence, RI.

What advice would you give a current VCU Sculpture student?

Advice is hard. I’d just say, enjoy it… it’s a rare and unique opportunity to spend two years in an environment with such great people.

How did VCU prepare you for your current situation?

There’s not really one clearly delineated path for an artist, and VCU exposes its graduates to a wide range of possibilities because everyone involved in the program—from your faculty to your peers—contributes a unique voice and body of knowledge, both theoretical and technical. The greatest benefit of the program, to me, was learning how to learn from those around me. The experience was so rich, I still find myself working through the ideas and arguments that interested me in graduate school.

How do you define success?

For me, success is defined by the ability to make work while participating in a conversation with a community of artists. Everyone is passionate about something—for me it’s art and design, so being able to engage in this world, whether it be in the studio, at work, in a gallery, or while walking down the street, is a gift.

Why did you decide to study sculpture?

I became interested in sculpture because it is open – there are so many possibilities, in terms of engagement and the expression of ideas. The spatial / physical aspects interest me—I’m drawn to the ways sculpture embraces the complexity and nuance of actual experience.