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Through May 10, 2020

Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves

Karyn Olivier, Moving the Obelisk, 2019–2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Opening on January 24, 2020, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) is pleased to present a solo exhibition of large-scale sculptures by Philadelphia-based artist Karyn Olivier. Everything That’s Alive Moves offers the rare opportunity to examine the recent trajectories of Olivier’s investigation into scale, public memory, and their relation to issues of inclusivity and acceptance. The exhibition builds on several public projects and commissions created by the artist in recent years and continues to revise, rework, and expand on key works.

Works in this exhibition bring together two themes the artist has focused on in recent years: larger-than-life scale and the minute, modest gesture. A new obelisk sculpture, a fully-functioning carousel for one rider, a large car made entirely of repurposed shoes —gathered for export to poor countries—and a brick wall built using discarded clothing as mortar, evoking memories of laundry and bundled lives carries overtones of refugee structures and traces of bodies, are among the works selected to be reimagined and constructed on-site at ICA.

Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves is organized by Anthony Elms, ICA Daniel and Brett Sundheim Chief Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated monograph that will be released in 2020.

About the Artist

Karyn Olivier (b. 1968, Trinidad and Tobago) received her M.F.A. at Cranbrook Academy of Art and her B.A at Dartmouth College. She has exhibited at the Gwangju and Busan Biennials, World Festival of Black Arts and Culture (Dakar, Senegal), The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of Art, MoMA P.S.1, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh), SculptureCenter (NY), Drexel University, the University of the Arts, Ulrich Museum of Art, University of Delaware Museum, among others.

In 2017 Olivier installed a large-scale commissioned work for Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program in historic Vernon Park. In 2015 Olivier created public works for Creative Time in Central Park and NYC’s Percent for Art program. She has received the 2018–19 Rome Prize and has been the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, the New York Foundation for the Arts Award, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, the William H. Johnson Prize, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, a Creative Capital Foundation grant and a Harpo Foundation Grant. More recently, Olivier has been selected to create a new Dinah memorial at Stenton, following a year-long process in which community members met to shape ideas of what a monument to Dinah should incorporate. Olivier’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, Art in America, Flash Art, Mousse, The Washington Post, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Frieze, Philadelphia Inquirer, Hyperallergic, among others. Olivier is currently an associate professor of sculpture at Tyler School of Art and Architecture.

Installation Views