Lauren Kalman is a visual artist based in Detroit, whose practice is invested in contemporary craft, video, photography and performance. Through her work she investigates beauty, adornment, body image, value, and consumer culture. Raised in the Midwest, Kalman completed her MFA in Art and Technology from the Ohio State University and earned a BFA with a focus in metals from the Massachusetts College of Art. She has been awarded residencies at the Corporation of Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art and Santa Fe Art Institute. In addition she has received Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Puffin Foundation West and ISE Cultural Foundation grants.
Kalman exhibits and lectures internationally. Her work had been featured in exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the deCordova Museum. Her video work has been screened in several international film festivals. Her photographs and objects are part many private collections as well as the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of Art. Her works have been featured in many texts including Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Contemporary Craftpublished by the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and 40 Under 40: Craft Futures published by the Renwick Gallery and Yale University Press. Her most recent solo exhibition was Coveted Objects at Cranbrook Museum of Art. In 2016 she will begin a residency at The Mattress Factory in Pittsburg, PA.
She has taught at institutions including Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.
My work combines functional and craft objects, sculpture, photography, video, installation and performance. Through my work, I bring to light uncomfortable connections in visual culture between body image, media, class, and style.
Historically my work has references diseases like acne, cancer, herpes, and elephantiasis, or physical trauma like amputation and facial reconstruction surgery; presenting them as jeweled infections, fabric growths, or wearable electronic instruments.
My recent work has utilized a sterile aesthetic borrowed from Modernism combined with adornment and the female body. Fabricated objects that reflect sculptural ornamentation and adornment are combined with the body and design objects to produce photographs. These juxtapositions point to historical, political, and social contexts relating to sex, gender, power, pleasure, and beauty.