Phoebe Washburn


The massive, low-tech sculptures of New York-based artist Phoebe Washburn are composed of thousands of individual recycled units that are constructed together to create a unified, room-sized structure. The artist draws inspirations from signs of progress often found in construction sites, such as stacks of bricks and bags of concrete or sand. Of particular interest to Washburn are found elements of improvised architecture on construction sites such as a make-shift ramp or rigged-up workbench. However ambitious the attempt at construction is for the artist, the viewer is always left with clues as to how the structure is engineered. Many of the site specific works such as “True, False, and Slightly Better” weigh more than 7,000 pounds and are held together by more than 70,000 screws, supported by a mix of miscellaneous materials like two-by-fours and other scrap wood. In 2005 and 2006, Washburn filled the lobby of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles with thousands of pieces of constructed cardboard and plywood in a piece titled “It Has No Secret Surprise.” The artist received her degree from Tulane University in New Orleans and her MFA from the School of the Visual Arts in New York City. Washburn exhibited at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and Zach Feuer (LFL) in New York and has been featured in an article in Art in America and in a recent article titled “Burgeoning Geometries” in The New York Times.