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Karen McCoy

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Karen McCoy

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Karen McCoy is an American visual artist whose work focuses on sculpture, environmental art, walking art, and land art. She resides in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is a professor in the sculpture department of the Kansas City Art Institute. She also taught sculpture and design at Williams College (1987-1994), Colby College (1987), and the University of Minnesota-Morris (1982-1985).


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McCoy's sculptural works are created out of a combination of artistic practice and environmental activism, with focus on the ecological, geographical, cultural, and societal histories of the site at which the work is created. Works such as Tree in Tree (2004, Osage Nation Park Forest, St. Louis, MO), "Island Gridded for Growth" (2000, Jackson, WY), and "Considering Mother's Mantle" (1992, Syracuse, NY) are created by way of subtle physical alterations to the environment (i.e. - the planting of vegetation). In other projects, such as "Seemingly Unconnected Events" (2011, Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site, Portsmouth, NH) and the land art project "The Taiwan Tangle: Space for Contemplating Carrying Capacity" (2009, Guandu International Sculpture Festival, Guandu Nature Park, Taipei, Taiwan), McCoy uses reclaimed materials to create large-scale sculptures that address issues of global climate change, sustainability, and resource depletion.

She has created drawings made as a result of walking since 1987 (Mnemotopias or memory of place drawings) and several sculpture projects that involve listening and walking, most recently the Sound and Sight Walk in Central Park, on invitation of the Walk Exchange/NY. She is a member of the Walking Artists Network and her open source cut-and-fold paper Listening Trumpet may be found on the blog of their research group, Footwork.

Karen McCoy frequently collaborates with composer Robert Carl, an ongoing body of work that includes her ear trumpets and listening post sculptures. Built from materials native to the site, the ear trumpets are used to amplify ambient sounds of their environment, often presented along with Carl's field recordings and ecoacoustic compositions. In 2010, Carl and McCoy collaborated on "Talking Trees", a site-based interactive sculpture for the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

McCoy's work has been anthologized in numerous texts, including Beardsley, John (1998). Earthworks and Beyond (3rd ed.). , Sayre, Henry (2010). World of Art (6th ed.). , Cooper, Paul (2003). Gardens Without Boundaries. , and Potteiger, Matthew; Purinton, Jamie (1998). Landscape Narratives. , among others. Her work is in the Oppenheimer Collection at the Nerman Contemporary Museum of Art.


Karen McCoy Wikipedia