Lauren Kalman is a visual artist 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.
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, The Museum of Arts and Design, Cranbrook Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the deCordova Museum, among others. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and other institutions.
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 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 assistant professor at Wayne State University
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.