Mary Ellen Carroll (Houston and New York)

Unsuspecting Materials

The built environment, visible and non-visible forms of infrastructure, policy and law are employed in the making-of and as works of art by the artist, who unfurls the use of physical and esoteric matter in her ongoing pursuit to expand the meaning of performance as a practice. Ranging from unused radio frequencies as a 21st century form of land art PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0 to provide connectivity for underserved communities in New Orleans, to the development of her trademark NOTHING™, to her research for The Circle Game in Dubai, UAE.

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Mary Ellen Carroll’s FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Alserkal Avenue (Dubai).

Mary Ellen Carroll, Unsuspecting Materials, 2016. Performance documentation FIELD MEETING: Thinking Practice, November 11th at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo: Renata Carciofolo.


Mary Ellen Carroll‘s practice spans over 20 years of investigating a single, fundamental question: what is a work of art? Her ongoing projects stand at the intersection of conceptual art, architecture, public policy, and social justice. She has exhibited at international venues including at Whitney Museum, ICA London, Museum fur Volkerkunde in Munich, and is the recipient of numerous grants and honors like a Graham Foundation Fellowship, AIA’s Artist of the Year Award, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and most recently a Robert Rauschenberf Residency.

Mary Ellen Carroll, Next Time with Jacky (Waterpark), 2016. Commissioned for the Museum of Contemporary Art – Yinchuan, Nigxia, China.