Lauren Kalman is a visual artist based in Detroit, whose practice is rooted in the history of adornment, contemporary craft, sculpture, video, photography and performance. Through her work she investigates constructions of the ideal, the politics of craft, the body, and the built environment through performances using her body.
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 Massachusetts College of Art. She apprenticed and was staff at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture, where she was trained in foundry with a focus on ceramic shell casting, metal chasing, and welding.
Kalman exhibits and lectures internationally. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Museum of Arts and Design, Cranbrook Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Mint Museum, and the World Art Museum in Beijing, among others. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art.
She has been awarded residencies at the Bemis Center, the Australian National University, the Corporation of Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Brush Creek Arts Foundation, Haystack, and Santa Fe Art Institute. She has received Ponyide, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Puffin Foundation West and ISE Cultural Foundation Emerging Curator grants. She has taught at institutions including Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Currently she is an associate professor at Wayne State University.
2016 Solo PULSE Art Fair
2014 But if the Crime is Beautiful:Composition with Ornament and Object (solo)
2011 you have no arms, you have no legs (solo)
2010 Blooms, Efflorescence, and other Dermatological Embellishments (solo)
2008 Hardwear (solo)
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.