Ann Hamilton is a visual artist who has received international acclaim for her large-scale multimedia installations, public projects, and performance collaborations. Her works are largely site-specific, utilizing a variety of materials to invoke particular places, collective voices, and communities of labor.1 Her installations are often a combination of soundtracks, organic materials, objects, cloth, and film.25 Hamilton strategically uses these elements in order to highlight the history and architectural features of her sites through an immersive viewer experience.
Even though her works are known for their dense accumulation of materials, Hamilton's objective is to place emphasis on the non-material actions, such as reading, speaking, and listening.2 Preferring to be thought of as a “maker” as opposed to an artist, Hamilton engages her viewers through each of her pieces, making them central figures in her works.3 Each of her works can be approached as multi-sensory experiences, and components such as sound and smell are often used to further engage the viewer on an individual level. Her most notable works include suitably positioned, privation and excesses, Allegheny Park, and the event of a thread.
Ann Hamilton has exhibited globally, even representing the United States in both the 1991 Sao Paulo Bienal and the 1999 Venice Biennial. Throughout her career, she has received many awards and accolades. These include the National Medal of the Arts, the Heinz Award, MacArthur Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, and the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.
Born in Lima, Ohio, Ann Hamilton holds a BFA in textile design from the University of Kansas as well as an MFA in sculpture from the Yale University School of Art. She was appointed as a Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State University in 2011, and Ohio State University announced its intent to compile an archive for the artist in 2014.4 Hamilton currently resides in Columbus, Ohio with fellow artist and husband Michael Mercil.
2 Art21: Ann Hamilton
3 Ohio State University Arts and Sciences: Ann Hamilton Project Archive Created Ohio State
4 Ann Hamilton: "the event of a thread" | Art21 "Extended Play"