Joyce J. Scott: Truths and Visions

Organized by Patterson Sims

January 29, 2015May 24, 2015

Click to download the Gallery guide for this exhibition.

"Over the last four decades, Scott has honed her craft and delivered striking visual narratives through masterful technical skill, while demonstrating an ongoing interest in collaborating with craftspeople across the globe."
Glenn Adamson, Nanette L. Laitman Director, Museum of Art and Design (New York City)

This exhibition highlights the work of Joyce J. Scott, a sculptor, performance artist, and educator. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1948 and still based there, Scott began making art in collaboration with her mother, fiber artist Elizabeth Talford, in 1970. Since this time, Scott’s African-American, urban, and female identity have inspired her exuberant and often searing vision.

Glass beadwork and small found objects are Scott’s primary media, with recent travels to Murano glass-making workshops in Venice, Italy and elsewhere informing larger mixed media sculptures with blown and molded glass. Favoring delicacy, detail, and intimacy, Scott balances autobiographical references with more cosmic and broadly political and sociological content to convey trauma and haunting episodes of rage about African-American and African history, bigotry, injustice, and gender. Scott has declared: “I’m a muckraker and audaciously proud of it. I would like people to be uneasy.”

Joyce J. Scott: Truths and Visions features the major installation Lynched Tree, (2011–2015) alongside a comprehensive selection of her small-scaled figurines. Originally created for an outdoor site at Prospect 2 in New Orleans, Lynched Tree has been expanded and reconfigured for indoor installation. A monumental symbol of natural and societal destruction, it exemplifies the complex intent and impact of Scott’s art.


Joyce J. Scott: Truths and Visions is organized for MOCA Cleveland by Patterson Sims, independent curator. The exhibition will tour to the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, August 28 - October 9, 2015.

Joyce J. Scott (1948, Baltimore, MD) lives and works in Baltimore. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; Baltimore Museum of Art; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach; and American Craft Museum, New York. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Museum of Art and Design, New York; Houston Center for Contemporary Art; Bronx Museum, NY; Kentucky Museum of Arts & Design, Louisville; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC. Collections holding her work include The Detroit Institute of the Arts; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Patterson Sims (1947, Philadelphia) lives and works in New York City. His distinguished career as a museum professional includes the positions of Director, Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey; Deputy Director for Education and Research Support, Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Associate Director for Art and Exhibitions and Curator of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum.  Sims was the first curator designated to oversee the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he worked from 1976 to 1987, and he was a co-curator of four Whitney Biennial exhibitions. Sims currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Independent Curators International and works with several artist foundations.