March 29, 2019
BMA Presents Hitching their Dreams to Untamed Stars: Joyce J. Scott & Elizabeth Talford Scott
“Generations tearing through stitching and hitching their dreams to untamed stars have coalesced in me. I accepted that challenge.” –Joyce J. Scott, 1987
BALTIMORE, MD (March 29, 2019)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) brings together the work of MacArthur Award-winning artist Joyce J. Scott and her mother, artist Elizabeth Talford Scott, for a one-gallery exhibition that explores their profound mutual influence. The two artists lived and worked together in Baltimore for more than 60 years and the younger Scott credits her mother for showing her that she could realize her dreams as an artist. On view May 15–December 1, 2019, the exhibition demonstrates their exceptional creativity with needle and thread through 9 works that include an early collaboration, three stunning quilts, a beaded necklace and tapestry, and sculptures clothed in luminous glass and bead garments.
“The work of Joyce J. Scott and Elizabeth Talford Scott stands as an invitation to viewers to bring their own creative spirit to bear on making a better world,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “I am very pleased to present the work of one of Baltimore’s most acclaimed artists alongside the work of her mother, an outstanding artist in her own right”
From the 1970s onward, Joyce J. Scott (b. 1948) and Elizabeth Talford Scott (1916-2011) each developed an extraordinary body of work grounded in a shared textile tradition. They understood their creative legacy as inherited from generations of craftspeople in their family who had honed their expertise and persisted in their artistry through the extreme deprivations of slavery and its aftermath in sharecropping, migration, and segregated city life. Both artists embraced the belief that art-making can offer human beings the opportunity to break free of limiting social categories, evolve new ways of communicating, and nurture dreams.
Highlights of the exhibition include three quilts by Elizabeth Talford Scott, including her majestic Plantation (1980), a dazzling work in the BMA’s collection that envisions the big dipper as a matriarchal beacon of freedom. Examples of Joyce J. Scott’s work include an early loom-based beaded necklace and reverse-appliqué mola alongside more recent figurative sculptures and a storybook tapestry made with glass beads.
Hitching Their Dreams to Untamed Stars: Joyce J. Scott & Elizabeth Talford Scott is curated by BMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Cecilia Wichmann.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by John Meyerhoff, M.D., and Lenel Srochi-Meyerhoff, the Estate of Margaret Hammond Cooke, and the Jean and Allan Berman Textile Endowment Fund. Special thanks to Joyce J. Scott and Goya Contemporary, Baltimore.
JOYCE J. SCOTT
Joyce J. Scott (b. 1948, Baltimore, MD) is best known for her figurative sculpture and jewelry using free-form, off loom bead weaving techniques, as well as blown glass and found objects. As an African American feminist artist, Scott unapologetically confronts difficult themes as diverse as her subjects which include race, misogyny, sexuality, stereotypes, gender inequality, social disturbance, economic disparities, history, politics, rape, and discrimination. Scott has also established herself as an innovative fiber artist, print maker, installation artist, vocalist, and performer. In 2017, Scott opened her largest exhibition to date, Joyce J. Scott: Harriet Tubman and Other Truths, at Grounds For Sculpture in New Jersey, where she realized two large-scale site-specific works focused on the abolitionist Harriet Tubman in addition to historic and recent objects. Other past projects include glassworks made in Murano, Italy, which were exhibited in the 2013 Venice Biennale collateral exhibition Glasstress, and Joyce J. Scott: Kickin’ It with the
Old Masters, a major retrospective organized by the BMA and Maryland Institute College of Art in 2000. Scott is the recipient of numerous grants, awards, residencies, and prestigious honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, American Craft Council, National Living Treasure Award, Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award, Baker Artist Award, and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, among others. In spring 2019, she will receive a Visionary Artist Award from the Smithsonian Institute and an honorary doctorate from California College of the Arts, in Oakland, CA.
Scott earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Instituto Allende in Mexico. In 2018, she was awarded an honorary fellowship from NYU, and an honorary doctorate from MICA. Other solo museum exhibitions include Joyce J. Scott at the Fuller Craft Museum, MA (2016); Joyce J. Scott: Truths and Visions at MOCA Cleveland, OH (2015); Maryland to Murano: Neckpieces and Sculptures by Joyce J. Scott at the Museum of Art and Design, NYC (2014), and Kickin’ It With Joyce J. Scott at Houston Center for Contemporary Art (2007). Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Delaware Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Speed Museum Louisville, KY; and Yale University, New Haven, CT.
ELIZABETH TALFORD SCOTT
Elizabeth Talford Scott’s (1916-2011) quilts and wall hangings have been exhibited at many Baltimore venues, as well as at Florida A&M University, New York’s Studio Museum of Harlem, The Museum of American Folk Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her exhibitions culminated with a retrospective in 1998 titled Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott that opened at the Maryland Institute College of Art and traveled to the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, DC; New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA; and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC. She often lectured and taught workshops collaboratively with her daughter Joyce J. Scott, including the Maryland State Art’s Council’s Artist in Education Program; Smithsonian Institution’s Folk Life Festival in Washington, D.C.; Penland School of Craft in North Carolina; and at University of Colorado, Boulder. In 1987, she received the prestigious Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
About the Baltimore Museum of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.