Joyce J. Scott is an award-winning, multifaceted visual and performance artist most known for her work in jewelry, beadwork, and glass. She was elected into the College of Fellows in 2000 and earned the Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship in 2020.
Scott was born in Baltimore in 1948, and her expansive career as both an artist and educator spans jewelry making, printmaking, weaving, sculpture, performance, and installation. Her work unapologetically addresses racially, socially, and politically charged subjects, powerfully revealing the equality between materials and practices often associated with “craft” and “fine art.” Scott’s wide-ranging body of work has crossed styles and mediums, from the most intricate beaded form to large-scale outdoor installation. Scott says, “I believe in messing with stereotypes…It’s important for me to use art in a manner that incites people to look and then carry something home – even if it’s subliminal...”
Scott is a 2016 fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and has honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and California College of the Arts. She received a BFA (1970) from MICA, an MFA (1971) from the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and training from her mother, Elizabeth T. Scott, who was an internationally recognized fiber artist. Her work is in numerous museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Spencer Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
In 2017, Scott opened her largest exhibition to date at “Grounds For Sculpture” in New Jersey, co-produced with her gallery, Goya Contemporary in Baltimore. In addition to historic and recent objects, Scott realized two large-scale, site-specific works focused on the abolitionist Harriet Tubman, created at the Johnson Atelier. Of the two, Araminta, a 10-foot tall avatar of Harriet, traveled to the inaugural “Open Spaces Kansas City,” whereas Graffiti Harriet, a 15-foot earthen work made of mixed media – including beads, compressed soil, clay, and straw – stayed onsite at “Grounds For Sculpture,” intended to disintegrate over time. Other projects include glassworks made on the Italian island of Murano, Italy, which were exhibited in the 2013 Venice Biennale collateral exhibition “Glasstress,” and a major exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art (2000).
Scott has been the recipient of myriad commissions, grants, awards, residencies, and prestigious honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, Anonymous Was a Woman, National Living Treasure Award, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art, Mary Sawyers Imboden Baker Award, and the Smithsonian Visionary Artist Award, among others.