The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art was founded in 1842 by Daniel Wadsworth, one of the first major American art patrons. The museum’s collections of nearly 50,000 works of art span 5,000 years and feature the Morgan collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and European decorative arts; world-renowned baroque and surrealist paintings; an unsurpassed collection of Hudson River School landscapes; European and American Impressionist paintings; modernist masterpieces; the Serge Lifar collection of Ballets Russes drawings and costumes; the George A. Gay collection of prints; the Wallace Nutting collection of American colonial furniture and decorative arts; the Samuel Colt firearms collection; costumes and textiles; African American art and artifacts; and contemporary art. In 2008, Susan L. Talbott, previously director of Smithsonian Arts at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, became the Atheneum’s 10th director. During her tenure she developed new programs and exhibitions that were both engaging and intellectually exciting, expanded the collections through significant acquisitions, particularly in modern and contemporary art, and created partnerships and collaborative projects with a broad range of community groups in order to make the museum even more inclusive and welcoming.
Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—which are often sourced through donations from individuals in a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos and site-specific installations. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process, and her engagement of community, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.
Her work has been widely exhibited in major national and international museums, including in solo exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona (2010), Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC (2009), the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2006), and Projects at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (2004).
Other venues have been the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Art and Design, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Asia Society and Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, Sculpture Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, and Frederieke Taylor Gallery in New York City. Site-specific permanent installations have been commissioned by the US General Services Administration Art in Architecture Award, New York City’s Percent for the Arts and MTA Art for Transit. She has received numerous awards, including the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Architecture/Environmental Structures (2008) and Sculpture (2003), Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Art Award. Her works have been featured in many publications, including Frieze Art, Flash Art, Tema Celeste, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, Artnews, and The New York Times.
Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in the United States, Shin attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999 and received a BFA and MS from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She lives and works in New York City.
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