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DATES:
March 03 - September 19, 2020


ARTISTS:
Braun, Stephen
Stephen Braun: Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20

Carnegie Gallery

Through September 19, 2020 (original closing date was August 8, 2020)

Related events: Recording of Virtual gallery talk with Stephen Braun [original airdate: May 15, 2020]


In a corner of northwest Montana, deep in the woods, Stephen Braun is making powerful, challenging ceramic sculptures. “I love the planet and all of its beauty. But all I see is loss. I see the scars we leave to support our consumptive nature. We leave a landscape of heartache…it breaks my heart to see how ubiquitous we’ve been in radically changing our environment.

Self-deprecating and evasive, Braun would rather focus on his artwork than himself as an artist, or his history of activism. He says, “I have tried for many years to create change through environmental activism, legal challenges, and legislation. My art is just another form of activism.”

For this exhibit, he’s been making his trademark environmentally, and socially- and politically-themed sculptures using what he calls a "bastardized American raku technique" that was pioneered by Paul Soldner in the 1960s. The exhibit will include large, narrative wall-based and free-standing sculptures, some of which encourage audience interaction, including pieces that spin and works intended to be walked directly upon, around, or through.

Braun comes from a long history of radical artists. As an anthropology student at the University of Montana, he was introduced to ceramics and studied with ceramics pioneer Rudy Autio, conceptual artist Dennis Voss, and sculptor Ken Little. As a student, he lived up Grant Creek in a tipi for 4½ years, despite recorded temperatures as low as -50°F, biking 13 miles to his site, and scavenging food out of dumpsters. “I tried to figure out the minimal level of consumption I needed in order to live and after doing this I determined everything else I consume is in excess”.

This commitment impacts his studio practice, in particular. Braun explains, “Art materials are linked to extractive industries and filled with heavy chemicals. I’m judicious in what I make. It’s a moral and ethical question…a conundrum. Hopefully the content, the impact, of my work will supersede the resources that go into making it.”

Spanning over 30 years, Braun’s career comprises solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, as well as broad representation in public and private collections. This exhibition will be accompanied by a new illustrated catalog with essays of Braun’s work by artist and writer Peter Koch, critic Lucy Lippard, and MAM Senior Curator Brandon Reintjes.

This exhibition is sponsored by LH Project, with project support by Chris Antemann, Jakob Haßlacher Tim Speyer, Virginia Moffett, Monica Pastor, Dan Weinberg, Pat Sullivan and Jim Kolva, and Richard Braun.

Stephen Braun, A Montana Legacy, 2011, raku ceramics, approx. 4 x 6 feet, Missoula Art Museum Collection, purchased in part with support from Virginia Moffett, Dan Weinberg, and Roger Barber, 2014.01, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Big Oil, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, The Blowhard Series: Inhale, Mouthful, Exhale, Gasp, 2016, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Choices, 2018, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Circular Logic, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Dueling Liars, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Hunger, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Hydra, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Infinity, 2019-2020, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, detail of Infinity, 2019-2020, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of A Montana Legacy by Stephen Braun, 2011, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of Infinity by Stephen Braun, 2019-2020, raku ceramics, in Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20, 2020, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, left to right: Stability, Trifecta, Guardian Angel, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, A Forest of Stacks, 2019-2020, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Surveillance, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Upside/Downside, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, Victory, 2016-2017, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, White and Black, 2019, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, left to right: Stumpy, Well A-Tired, Well Stacked, Motion, 2019-2020, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, A Pyramid Scheme, 2020, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Stephen Braun, detail of A Pyramid Scheme, 2020, raku ceramics, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20, 2020, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20, 2020, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20, 2020, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20, 2020, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20, 2020, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.

Installation view of Hindsight and Foresight Are 20/20, 2020, photo courtesy of the Missoula Art Museum, all artwork copyright Stephen Braun.




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