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Biography: John Grade | 2004 GAP, Visual

Artist Trust

John Grade, The Elephant Bed, biodegradable dissolving paper, corn-based polymer, 24 ft x 6 ft x 6 ft each, English Channel, UK, 2010.

John Grade, a Seattle-based artist, creates large-scale sculptures that are exhibited internationally in museums, galleries and outdoors in nature. His projects are designed to change over time and often involve large groups of people to collaboratively build and install. He is the recipient of the 2010 Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (NY), a Tiffany Foundation Award (NY), an Andy Warhol Foundation Award (NY), two Pollock Krasner Foundation Grants (NY), and the 2011 Arlene Schnitzer Prize from the Portland Art Museum. His 65-foot sculpture Wawona is permanently installed at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle where it breaks through the floor and ceiling of the building, bridging a view from the water below the building to the sky above.

Middle Fork, which was recently featured in the exhibition Wonder at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art’s Renwick Gallery (Washington DC), will open February 2, 2017 in the Seattle Art Museum’s Brotman Forum. The sculpture will be twice its former length at just over 100 feet long. Other upcoming exhibitions include new permanent installations for the City of Seattle (WA), Portland State University (OR), a new terminal at Seattle Tacoma International Airport (WA), a long-term installation at Arte Sella Sculpture Park in Italy, and a new exhibition at the Anchorage Museum (AK).

John received a 2010 GAP to cover the costs of documenting through video and time-lapse photography the gradual evolution of his piece Circuit. Circuit will be a sculptural installation that will be sited on a mountaintop in the South Cascades in January 2011. Made of glazed ceramic plates bonded with a gypsum polymer to corn-based resin set in marine netting, the 10,000 lb. structure will be carried in 400 parts up the mountain simultaneously by 200 volunteers (in the snow). Designed to crack apart through exposure to extreme temperatures the sculpture will gradually change shape over the course of one year.

John received a 2007 GAP for documentation of Fold (Seven Types of Catastrophe), a sculptural installation sited in Willow Canyon, South Utah at the Escalante National Monument. The work, cast in a composite of cellulose, glassine pulp and ground white sesame seeds, will be suspended across the open mouth of the canyon, and documented from above and below, as natural forces contribute to its collapse and deterioration. Photographic and video documentation of the collapsing project will be shown alongside the remaining bird-picked remnants of the project.

John received a 2004 GAP to aid in completing a video narrative of his sculptural process and underscore how the labor-intensive pieces are constructed in stages not visible in the finished object. As such, Grade’s sculptures are an exploration of “temporary supporting structures, ad hoc tools made to reach and bend, and hanging devices.” This video will create a dialogue between the sculptural process and the finished art object.

John also received a 1999 GAP and a 2002 Fellowship.