Arlene Shechet

United States 1951


Arlene Shechet
Arlene Shechet
United States
February 27, 2015

Arlene Shechet is a New York-based artist, known for her sculptures that defy categotization. Some are figurative, some are architectural, and others resemble melting vessels or growing biological forms, always looking off balance or on the verge of collapse.

Born in 1951 in New York, Arlene Shechet received her BA from New York University and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Arlene Shechet makes ceramic objects that live in the midst of skill and humor. They are abstract aggregations of shapes that include both organic and geometric components. Within these parameters, the work is exceptionally diverse. One underlying commonality is that Shechet works with clay that is shaped, sometimes glazed, and then fired. Their sheer hybridity makes them perplexing and compelling. Shechet’s forms are askew, off-kilter, and unbalanced looking characters that might, at any moment, succumb to animation or simply flop down, no longer able to sustain their unlikely pose. Employing an experimental approach to ceramic sculpture, she tests the limits of gravity, color, and texture by pushing against the boundary of classical techniques, sometimes fusing her kiln-fired creations with complex plinths formed of wood, steel, and concrete.

In the artist’s own words ‘the things that I build…grow over months because I might be able to add only one inch of material in a day. I’m extending forms and I’m challenging balance and gravity in such a way that they always want to collapse or tip over…In fact, often things do collapse or fall over, and many don’t make it, but I love working on that precarious edge. For me, that has obvious emotional, psychological, and philosophical meaning.’

In a reciprocal relationship to her sculpture practice, the ‘drawings’ reflect Shechet’s physical sculpture-making process, made entirely with pigmented, liquid paper. Unique wall-hanging reliefs, they are multi-dimensional casts of objects on Shechet’s studio table that defy the boundaries normally associated with paper-based works.

Fascinated by the material’s history, Shechet recently completed a residency at the renowned Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. The resulting body of work – including mash-ups of functional objects and whimsical figurines – show an artist at the top of her form, recasting centuries old traditions into her own mold.

Considering herself an installation artist who happens to make objects, Shechet focuses intently on ensuring that the display, sight lines, and relationships of the objects in her exhibitions change with every view while maintaining formal equilibrium.

She has received numerous awards including a John S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, an Anonymous Was A Woman Artist Award, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, and an American Arts and Letters Award for Art. Her work is in public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

Arlene Shechet lives and works in New York City and Woodstock, New York.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2015All At OnceICA BostonSolo
2015BlockbusterLora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, TXSolo
2014Meissen RecastRISD Museum, Providence, RISolo
2014KilnLeila Heller Gallery, NYCGroup
2014The BotanicaAA Bronson & Michael Bühler-Rose, Invisible-Exports, NYCGroup
2014Now-ism: Abstraction TodayPizzuti Collection, Columbus, OHGroup
2014Speaking through Paint: Hans Hofmann’s LegacyLori Bookstein Fine Art, NYCGroup
2013SlipSikkema Jenkins & Co.Solo
2013That TimeWeatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NCSolo
2013DrifterHionas gallery, NYCGroup
2013Jew YorkZach Feuer Gallery, NYCGroup
2013Room for MythDodge Gallery, NYCGroup
2013CeramicsRhona Hoffman, ChicagoGroup
2013Tony Feher, Arturo Herrera, Arlene Shechet, and Kay RosenSikkema Jenkins, NYCGroup
2012Breaking the MoldNature Morte BerlinSolo
2012That TimeAnderson Gallery, VCUartsSolo
2012.SUMNerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KSSolo
2012Parallel PlayDieu Donne, NYCSolo
2012EastKunstsaele BerlinGroup
2012Modern TimesLesley Heller, NYC. DecGroup
2012Le Beau DangerSassa Truelzsch Galerie, BerlinGroup
2012Fictitious TruthsRooster Gallery, NYCGroup
2012Peekskill Project V: The New Hudson River SchoolHVCCA, Peekskill, NYGroup
2012Walled GardensKlaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, NYCGroup
2012Makeup on Empty SpaceLarissa Goldston Gallery, NYCGroup
2012Economy of Means: Towards Humility in Contemporary SculptureScottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZGroup
2012The AnnualNational Academy Museum, New York, NYGroup
2011The Thick of ItJames Kelly Gallery, Santa FeSolo
2011TextilityVisual Arts Center of New Jersey, SummitGroup
2011Free From Order: A Delight of Inconsistencies, Amy Gatrell, Cordy Ryman, and Arlene ShechetUCONN Contemporary Art GalleriesGroup
2011Contemporary ClayRH Gallery, New YorkGroup
2011Paul ClaySalon 94, New YorkGroup
2011Exhibition of Work by Newly Elected Members and Recipients of Honors and AwardsAcademy of Arts and Letters, NYCGroup
2011Invitational Exhibition of Visual ArtistsAmerican Academy of Arts and Letters, NYCGroup
2011January White SaleLoretta Howard Gallery, NYCGroup
2010The Sound of ItJack Shainman Gallery, NYCSolo
2010Material-ImmaterialShoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2010XXIst International Ceramic Biennial (BICC)Vallauris, FranceGroup
2009Here and ThereMuseum of Contemporary Art Denver, COSolo
2009Blow by BlowF. Y. Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NYSolo
2009Dirt On DelightICA, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2009Dirt On DelightWalker Art Center, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2009FeelersSusan Hobbs Gallery, TorontoGroup
2009The Dark Fair—Aquarium ProjectCologne Art Fair, GermanyGroup
2009New Works - Old StoryContemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CAGroup
2009Seriously FunnyScottsdale Museum, AZGroup
2009New NowNerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KSGroup
2008Now & AwayShoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2008True Grit, Frames, Fixations, FlirtationsMcColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, NCGroup
2008Neti Neti (not this not this)Bose Pacia Gallery, NYCGroup
2008GreyDinter Fine Art, NYCGroup
2008Present TenseSpanierman Modern Gallery, NYCGroup
2007New WorkElizabeth Harris Gallery, NYCSolo
2007Shattering GlassKatonah Museum, NYGroup
2007Written on the Wind: The Flag ProjectRubin Museum of Art, NYCGroup
2007In the WayByrdcliffe, Woodstock, NYGroup
2006Thin AirSun Valley Center for the Arts, Sun Valley, IDSolo
2006Round and RoundHemphill, Washington, D.C.Solo
2006The Bong Show or This Is Not a PipeLeslie Tonkonow, NYCGroup
2006The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai LamaFowler Museum, UCA., Los Angeles, CAGroup
2005FaithReal Art Ways, Hartford, CTGroup
2005Glass, SeriouslyDorsky Curatorial Program, Long Island City, NYGroup
2005Seven ArtistsAmerican Embassy, Hanoi, VietnamGroup
2005Somewhere Outside ItSchroeder Romero Gallery, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2005Monochrome ImageElizabeth Harris Gallery, NYCGroup
2005Riverhouse Editions: Master Prints by 44 ArtistsUniversity of Denver, Denver, COGroup
2004Deep Blooze SeriesHemphill, Washington, D.C.Solo
2004Out of the BlueShoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
2004Sidewalk InstallationRubin Museum of Art, NYCGroup
2004Bottle: Contemporary Art and Vernacular TraditionThe Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CTGroup
2004The Buddha ProjectCleveland State University, Cleveland, OHGroup
2004The Big NothingInstitute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2003Turning the WheelNewhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island, NYSolo
2003Two person show - Arlene Shechet and Stephen MuellerVan Brunt Gallery, NYSolo
2003BuildingHenry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WASolo
2003Some SculpturesTexas Gallery, Houston, TXGroup
2003According with Nadelman: Contemporary AffinitiesJune Kelly Gallery, NYCGroup
2003MysticMass. College of Art, Boston, MAGroup
2003Water Mark – InsideE.H. Blum Gallery, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, MEGroup
2003Water, WaterRotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2003VesselsGreenwich House Pottery, NYCGroup
2002Flowers FoundElizabeth Harris Gallery, NYCSolo
2002Line and LandscapeEthan Cohen Gallery, NYCGroup
2002Paper Remix: Dieu Donné Work Space Program, 1995-2000Dieu Donne Papermill, NYGroup
2002Curious TerrainElizabeth Harris Gallery, NYCGroup
2001PujaA-D Gallery, NYCSolo
2001GaneshRene Blouin Gallery, Montreal, QCGroup
2001Rags to Riches: 25 Years of Paper Art from Dieu Donné PapermillArt Museum, Mich. State UniversityGroup
2001Digital Printmaking NowBrooklyn Museum of Art, NYGroup
2001A Threshold of Spirit and Crossing Paths: an Installation in the BaptistryCathedral of St. John the Divine, NYGroup
2000Arlene ShechetGalerie Rene Blouin, MontrealSolo
2000Mysticism and DesireLos Angeles, CAGroup
2000The Living EndBoulder Museum of Contemporary Art, COGroup
2000Religion: Contemporary Interpretations by WomenThe Art Gallery, U. of New Hampshire, Durham, NHGroup
2000RaptureBakalar and Huntington Galleries, Mass Art, Boston, MAGroup
1999Mirror MirrorElizabeth Harris Gallery, NYSolo
1999Crafted ShowsFranklin Parrasch Gallery, NYGroup
1999OmDorsky Gallery, NYCGroup
1999LoafBaumgartner Galleries Inc., NYCGroup
1999Women in PrintJim Kempner Fine Art, NYCGroup
1998Once RemovedShoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
1998In the DetailsBarbara Gross Galerie, Munich, GermanyGroup
1998Recent AcquisitionsJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
1997Sculpture and DrawingBernard Toale Gallery, Boston, MASolo
1997Sculpture and Works of PaperJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
1996Arlene ShechetShoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, CASolo
1995InstallationBoulder Museum of Fine Arts, Boulder, COSolo