Alice Aycock

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Alice Aycock
Born (1946-11-20) November 20, 1946 (age 69)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Education Douglass College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Hunter College in New York, NY
Known for Sculpture
Website Official website

Alice Aycock (born November 20, 1946) is an American sculptor and installation artist.


Aycock was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 20, 1946. She studied at Douglass College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1968.[1] She then went to New York City where she studied for her masters at Hunter College, and where she was taught and supervised by Robert Morris; she graduated in 1971. Her early sculptures were site-specific and were largely made from wood and stone; in the 1980s she began to use steel.


Alice Aycock's 1995 work "East River Roundabout" adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge near York Avenue and 60th Street in New York City.

Aycock's drawings and sculptures of architectural and mechanical fantasies exist as intersections of logic and imagination, located in a realm where science and faith intermingle.[2] Her early work focused on associations with the environment. Often built into or onto the land, her environmental sculptures and installation art addressed issues of privacy and interior space, physical enclosure, and of the body's relationship to vernacular architecture and the built environment. One such work is Maze (1972), constructed of five six-foot high concentric rings of wood, with three openings through which the viewer could enter. Once inside, the viewer participates in the work's experience of disorientation as s/he traverses through its labyrinth to reach its center, just to go undergo the uncomfortable experience again when exiting.

After 1977, the recurrent themes of danger and unease were augmented by Aycock's growing interest in metaphysical issues. The sculptures now excluded viewer participation and looked more like theatrical stage sets. After 1982, her work revolved around "blade machines," sculptures made out of revolving, motorized metal blades. With its obsessive erudition, Aycock's art of cosmic machines has been compared to Jorge Luis Borges's stories, with their private metaphysics of mind, dreams, space, and time. Like Borges, Aycock provokes us with an underlying sense of terror that a higher order exists and is ultimately incomprehensible.[2] Yet, we make endless attempts to understand.


Aycock has held several teaching positions at academic institutions focusing on the arts, such as the Rhode Island School of Design (1977), Princeton University (1979), San Francisco Art Institute (1979), Hunter College (1972–73; 1982–85), Yale University (1988-92), Maryland Institute College of Art (2010-2014), and has been at the School of Visual Arts, New York since 1991.


  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1975, 1980, 1986
  • New York State Creative Artists Public Service Grant, 1976
  • National Academician at the National Academy of Design, 2013

Collections and Exhibitions[edit]

She has created installations at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1977), the San Francisco Art Institute (1979), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1983), and outside the United States, including Israel, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and Japan and has had two major retrospectives—the first surveyed her work between 1972 and 1983, organized by the Wurttembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, and the other retrospective entitled “Complex Visions” was organized by the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY. In September 2005 the MIT Press published the artist’s first hardcover monograph, entitled Alice Aycock, Sculpture and Projects, authored by Robert Hobbs. In April 2013, a retrospective exhibition of her drawings, Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating, opened at the new Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, coinciding with the Grey Art Gallery in New York City, and traveled to the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 2014.

Her works can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum, the National Gallery, and the Louis Vuitton Foundation. She exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Documenta VI and VIII in Kassel, Germany and the Whitney Biennial.

Aycock’s public sculptures are seen throughout the United States, including a permanent suspended work completed in 2012 at the Dulles International Airport, the San Francisco Public Library, a large-scale sculptural roof installation for the East River Park Pavilion on 60th Street in NYC, and “Star Sifter” for Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Other projects include a GSA commission for the Fallon Building in Baltimore, an outdoor piece entitled “Strange Attractor”, at the Kansas City International Airport, “Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks”, Nashville, Tennessee, and a floating sculpture for Broward County, FL. From March to July 2014, Aycock's series of seven sculptures entitled Park Avenue Paper Chase were installed on the Park Avenue Malls in New York City.

She is currently represented by Marlborough Gallery, New York.


  1. ^ Handy, Amy (1989). "Artist's Biographies - Alice Aycock". In Randy Rosen; Catherine C. Brower. Making Their Mark. Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, 1970-1985. Abbeville Press. p. 239. ISBN 0-89659-959-0. 
  2. ^ a b Hillstrom, Laurie Collier (1999). Contemporary Women Artists. Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press. pp. 39–42. ISBN 1-55862-372-8. 
  • Hobbs, Robert. Alice Aycock: Sculpture and Projects. The MIT Press, 2005. 400pp. [ISBN 0-262-08339-6]
  • Jonathan Fineberg. Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating. Yale University Press, 2013. 160pp. [ISBN 0300191103]

External links[edit]