36 min

Catherine Morris on Judith Scott The Great Women Artists

    • Arts

THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews Catherine Morris of the Brooklyn Museum, on the great artist JUDITH SCOTT – launching on what would have been Scott's 81st birthday!!

Scott (1943–2005) was an American artist hailed for her fibre-based sculptures that merge wheels, trolleys, locks and chairs with bundles of threads, and whose brilliantly inventive methods and obsessively spun sculptures cocoon found objects. They also served as a form of communication – which is particularly extraordinary for someone who couldn’t hear or speak verbally. A twin – her sister Joyce was born without disabilities – Scott was deaf and had Down syndrome, and through her art, which she discovered later in life, was able to communicate to the outside world.

From the age of seven, she was placed in a series of institutions, enduring horrific conditions for more than 35 years. Sadly, she was born before the kind of legal protections that were implemented after scandals such as Willowbrook, a New York facility in which disabled children were brutalised, while the disability rights campaign, which took place in tandem with other social justice movements of the 60s and 70s, was some way off.

It wasn’t until 1985, when Joyce became her legal guardian and enrolled her at Creative Growth, that Scott turned to art. While she made nothing for her first two years at the centre, after taking part in a fibre art workshop she became obsessed by threads, spending every day until her death fastidiously wrapping and spinning fibres around objects, transforming them into her extraordinary creations.

I'm thrilled to be able to speak to Catherine Morris, who curated a great exhibition of Scott's work at the Brooklyn Museum. Morris holds the post of a feminist art specialist at the Brooklyn Museum, and has co-curated and curated numerous groundbreaking exhibitions – such as Lorraine O’Grady, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-1985; Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art… Worked on projects with Marilyn Minter, Zanele Muholi, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, and Cecilia Vicuna, as well as the major head-lining-grabbing show, It’s Pablomatic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby at the Brooklyn Museum last year.

ENJOY!

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LINKS:
https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/judith_scott/
https://creativegrowth.org/
https://art21.org/artist/judith-scott/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_n-8P_4IeE&t=66s&ab_channel=BetsyBayha
https://americanart.si.edu/artist/judith-scott-31169
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2024/apr/29/how-judith-scott-escaped-a-life-in-institutional-isolation-to-become-a-great-sculptor

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THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY THE LEVETT COLLECTION:

https://www.famm.com/en/
https://www.instagram.com/famm.mougins // https://www.merrellpublishers.com/9781858947037

Follow us:
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
Music by Ben Wetherfield

THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews Catherine Morris of the Brooklyn Museum, on the great artist JUDITH SCOTT – launching on what would have been Scott's 81st birthday!!

Scott (1943–2005) was an American artist hailed for her fibre-based sculptures that merge wheels, trolleys, locks and chairs with bundles of threads, and whose brilliantly inventive methods and obsessively spun sculptures cocoon found objects. They also served as a form of communication – which is particularly extraordinary for someone who couldn’t hear or speak verbally. A twin – her sister Joyce was born without disabilities – Scott was deaf and had Down syndrome, and through her art, which she discovered later in life, was able to communicate to the outside world.

From the age of seven, she was placed in a series of institutions, enduring horrific conditions for more than 35 years. Sadly, she was born before the kind of legal protections that were implemented after scandals such as Willowbrook, a New York facility in which disabled children were brutalised, while the disability rights campaign, which took place in tandem with other social justice movements of the 60s and 70s, was some way off.

It wasn’t until 1985, when Joyce became her legal guardian and enrolled her at Creative Growth, that Scott turned to art. While she made nothing for her first two years at the centre, after taking part in a fibre art workshop she became obsessed by threads, spending every day until her death fastidiously wrapping and spinning fibres around objects, transforming them into her extraordinary creations.

I'm thrilled to be able to speak to Catherine Morris, who curated a great exhibition of Scott's work at the Brooklyn Museum. Morris holds the post of a feminist art specialist at the Brooklyn Museum, and has co-curated and curated numerous groundbreaking exhibitions – such as Lorraine O’Grady, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-1985; Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art… Worked on projects with Marilyn Minter, Zanele Muholi, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, and Cecilia Vicuna, as well as the major head-lining-grabbing show, It’s Pablomatic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby at the Brooklyn Museum last year.

ENJOY!

--

LINKS:
https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/judith_scott/
https://creativegrowth.org/
https://art21.org/artist/judith-scott/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_n-8P_4IeE&t=66s&ab_channel=BetsyBayha
https://americanart.si.edu/artist/judith-scott-31169
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2024/apr/29/how-judith-scott-escaped-a-life-in-institutional-isolation-to-become-a-great-sculptor

--

THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY THE LEVETT COLLECTION:

https://www.famm.com/en/
https://www.instagram.com/famm.mougins // https://www.merrellpublishers.com/9781858947037

Follow us:
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic
Music by Ben Wetherfield

36 min

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