Sarah Sze

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Sarah Sze
Sarah Sze 360 (Portable Planetarium) 2010.jpg
360 (Portable Planetarium) 2010
Born 1969 (age 47–48)
Boston, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Education MFA
Known for Sculpture
Awards MacArthur Fellow (2003–2008)
US Representative for the Venice Biennale (2013)

Sarah Sze (/ˈz/; born 1969) is a contemporary artist who lives and works in New York City.[1] The artist employs a wide variety of materials in her work, ranging from found objects and images to sculptures and living plants, creating interesting landscapes across walls.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Boston in 1969, Sze presently lives and works in New York. She received a BA from Yale University in Connecticut in 1991 and an MFA from New York's School of Visual Arts in 1997.[3]


Since the late 1990s, Sarah Sze has developed a signature visual language that challenges the static nature of sculpture. Sze draws from Modernist traditions of the found object, dismantling their authority with dynamic constellations of materials that are charged with flux, transformation and fragility. Captured in this suspension, her immersive and intricate works question the value society places on objects and how objects ascribe meaning to the places and times we inhabit.[citation needed]

Coinciding with the explosion of information of the 21st Century, Sze's work simultaneously models and navigates the ceaseless proliferation of information in contemporary life. Her encyclopaedic installations unfold like a series of experiments that construct intimate systems of order – precarious ecologies in which material conveys meaning and a sense of loss.[citation needed]

Widely recognized for challenging the boundaries of painting, installation and architecture, Sze's sculptural practice ranges from slight gestures discovered in hidden spaces to expansive installations that scale walls and colonize architectures.[citation needed]

Sze represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2013, and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. She has exhibited in museums worldwide, and her works are held in the permanent collections of prominent institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Fondation Cartier, Paris; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles. Sze's work has been featured in The Whitney Biennial (2000), the Carnegie International (1999) and several international biennials, including Berlin (1998), Guangzhou (2015), Liverpool (2008), Lyon (2009), São Paulo (2002), and Venice (1999, 2013, and 2015). Sze has also created public works for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the High Line in New York. Sze was born in Boston, Massachusetts and lives and works in New York.[4]

"Blueprint for a Landscape" by Sarah Sze at the 96th Street subway station

On January 1, 2017, a permanent installation commissioned by MTA Arts & Design of drawings by Sze on ceramic tiles opened in the 96th Street subway station on the new Second Avenue Subway line in New York City.[5][6][7][8][9][10]


Sze represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2013. Two years later, as an invited artist, she made one of the more memorable contributions to the next one. She is a brilliant, continually surprising artist, who uses transparent means and everyday materials – tape, pegs, paper, paint, stones, and her signature blue string – to manufacture magic. ~ Sebastian Smee, Boston Globe [11]

Sze seizes the occasion [of representing her country at the Venice Biennale]-rarely afforded a young artist—to dismantle a whole gamut of prevailing definitions of sculpture ~ Benjamin H.D Buchloh, Artforum [12]

Sze Timekeeper pushes aside, implicitly politicizes, even parodies, single perspectives and objective experience, to hint at a complex and profoundly mutual relation with all the moving bodies in and of the world. ~ Katy Siegel, Catalog essay for Timekeeper at the Rose Museum, Waltham, MA

As the United States representative to last summer's [2013] Venice Biennale, Sarah Sze orchestrated a masterly series of installations in the American pavilion. Insidiously undermining the pavilion's grand Palladian architecture and its intimations of empire, her sprawling project "Triple Point" confused indoors with out: It opened up side entrances and hidden spaces, spread like kudzu along the building's roof and crept into a storage closet in the rotunda. ~ Karen Rosenberg, The New York Times [13]

Sze gathers fragments of all kinds to produce new totalities. Destruction is a precondition for creation, and Sze captures those moments when the imagination turns wreckage into art. ~Alfred Mac Adam, ArtNews [14]

Contrasting the geometric with the organic, the industrial with the natural, and the domestic with the wild, Sze takes her work and the viewer to new heights. ~Paul Laster, Time Out New York [15]

Ms. Sze seeks to counter the presentational quality intrinsic to a gallery: a white-walled stage. Her hope, instead, is for people to feel as if they stopped by her studio, and she had only recently left the room. ~Robin Pogrebin The New York Times [16]

Sarah Sze's detailed, microscopic view of the world implanted in the US pavilion is perhaps the strongest and most confident treatment of that space I have seen in years. ~Okwui Enwezor ArtForum [17]

Art market[edit]

Sze is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York[18] and Victoria Miro Gallery in London.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Sze lives in New York City with her husband, Siddhartha Mukherjee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies, and their two daughters.[20][21]

Notable exhibitions[edit]

  • 2016 – "Sarah Sze," The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
  • 2015 – "Sarah Sze," Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2015 – "All The Worlds Futures", 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, curated by Okwui Enwezor
  • 2015 – "Sarah Sze", Victoria Miro Gallery, London, UK
  • 2014 – "Sarah Sze: Triple Point (Planetarium)," Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY
  • 2013 – "Sarah Sze," The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2002 – Grow or Die, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (permanent installation)
  • 2013 – Triple Point, American Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
  • 2012 – "Sarah Sze", MUDAM Museum, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • 2011 – Sarah Sze: Infinite Line, Asia Society, New York, NY
  • 2009 – Tilting Planet, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, UK[22]
  • 2008 – "Sarah Sze", Maison Hermès 8F Le Forum, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2007 – "Sarah Sze", Victoria Miro Gallery, London, UK
  • 2006 – "Sarah Sze", Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden
  • 2006 – Corner Plot, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, New York, NY
  • 2006 – Model for Corner Plot, Agassiz House, Radcliffe Yard, Cambridge, MA
  • 2005 – "Sarah Sze", Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2005 – An Equal and Opposite Reaction, the Seattle Opera, Seattle, WA, (permanent installation)
  • 2004 – Blue Poles, Sidney-Pacific Graduate Dormitory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA (permanent installation)
  • 2004 – "Sarah Sze: The Triple Point of Water", Fondazione Davide Halevim, Milan, Italy
  • 2003 – "Sarah Sze: The Triple Point of Water", The Whitney Museum, New York, NY
  • 2002 – "Sarah Sze", Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • 2001 – "Sarah Sze", Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, NY
  • 2001 – Drawn, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
  • 2000 – "Sarah Sze", Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
  • 1999 – "Sarah Sze", Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • 1999 – "Sarah Sze: Still Life with Flowers", Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany
  • 1999 – "Sarah Sze", Foundation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France
  • 1998 – "Sarah Sze", Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK
  • 1997 – Migrateurs, Musee d’Art Modern de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
  • 1997 – White Room, White Columns, New York, NY

Museum collections[edit]

Awards and Grants[edit]

  • 2017 – Honoree, National Academy Museum and School, New York
  • 2016 – Louise Blouin Foundation Award
  • 2014 – Amherst Honorary Degree, Doctor of the Arts, Honoris Causa
  • 2014 – School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Medal Award
  • 2013 – US Representative for the Venice Biennale
  • 2013 – Inducted into the National Academy
  • 2012 – American Federation of the Arts Cultural Leadership Award
  • 2012 – Laurie M. Tisch Award for civic responsibility and action and significant leadership in education, arts, culture, civic affairs and/or health
  • 2012 – AICA Award for Best Project in a Public Space, Sarah Sze, Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat), The High Line, New York, NY
  • 2005 – Radcliffe Institute Fellow
  • 2003 – MacArthur Fellow
  • 2003 – Lotos Club Foundation Prize in the Arts
  • 2002 – Atelier Calder Residency, Sache`, France
  • 1999 – Louis Comfort Tiffany Award
  • 1997 – The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Studio Residency, New York
  • 1997 – Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award
  • 1997 – Paula Rhodes Memorial Award
  • 1996 – School of Visual Arts Graduate Fellowship


  • 1998 – Visiting Lecturer, Yale University, Intersections of Art and Architecture
  • 1999–2002 – Lecturer, School of Visual Art, Master of Fine Arts Program
  • 2002–2004 – Lecturer, Columbia University, School of the Arts
  • 2005–2008 – Adjunct Professor, Columbia University, School of the Arts
  • 2009–Present – Professor, Columbia University, School of the Arts


  1. ^ Official website
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Oh, Inae (14 May 2012). "Second Avenue Subway Public Art Project Commissions Chuck Close, Sarah Sze, Jean Shin". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Ben Yakas (2014-01-22). "Here's What The Second Avenue Subway Will Look Like When It's Filled With Art". Gothamist. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  7. ^ Halperin, Julia (June 2, 2012). "A Preview of the MTA's Ultra-Contemporary Public Art for New York's Second Avenue Subway Line". Blouin Art Info. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Subway Art on the Future Second Avenue Subway Line Revealed". Untapped Cities. 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  9. ^ Lynch, Marley (2014-01-23). "The future Second Avenue subway line will have cool art (slide show)". Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  10. ^ Kennedy, Randy (2016-12-19). "Art Underground: A First Look at the Second Avenue Subway". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  11. ^ Smee, Sebastian. "Sarah Sze's beguiling art? It's about time.". 
  12. ^ Benjamin, Buchloh. "The Entropic Encyclopedia" (PDF). 
  13. ^ Rosenberg, Karen. "In Slender Filaments, a Cosmos Distilled". 
  14. ^ Mac Adam, Alfred. "SARAH SZE AT TANYA BONAKDAR". 
  15. ^ Laster, Paul. "Sarah Sze". 
  16. ^ Pogrebin, Robin. "Sarah Sze Aims for Precise Randomness in Installing Her Gallery Show". 
  17. ^ Enwezor, Okwui. "Predicaments of Culture" (PDF). 
  18. ^ "tanya bonakdar gallery :: artists". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Sarah Sze – Artists – Victoria Miro". Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "An Oncologist Writes 'A Biography Of Cancer'". NPR. November 17, 2010. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Shapin, Steven (November 8, 2010). "The modern history of cancer : The New Yorker". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  22. ^ Sarah Sze: Tilting Planet from Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, accessed on 12 November 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]