Ellen Gallagher

Annual A. James Speyer Memorial Lecture on Contemporary Art at AIC
Wednesday, October 10, 6:00 p.m.7:00 p.m.

Fullerton Hall in the Art Institute of Chicago


Ellen Gallagher (American, b.1965) is a painter, collagist, and printmaker. Born in Providence, RI, she attended Oberlin College, OH, from 1982 to 1984, and Studio 70, in Fort Thomas, KY, in 1989. Gallagher earned a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, MA, in 1992. She went on to attend the Skowhegan School of Art, ME, in 1993. Associated with the Post-Minimalists, Gallagher’s work often contains deeper meanings about race and stereotypes, particularly for African Americans. The artist’s aesthetic has been influenced by the Minimalist style of painter Agnes Martin, and the repetition in writings by Gertrude Stein. 

Gallagher’s DeLuxe, a portfolio of 60 prints, was exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY, in 2005. The artist often takes advertisements from African American magazines, and manipulates the images by cutting them apart, removing text, and adding three-dimensional surfaces. In the series Watery Ecstatic, Gallagher examined history, myth, and identity. She carved sea creatures out of thick paper to mimic scrimshaw, the 19th-century art in which whalers carved animal bones to create tools and pictures. 

The artist’s works are shown internationally at renowned institutions such as the Tate Modern in London, UK; Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, CA; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France. Gallagher lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and New York, NY.