The life’s work of renown, prolific Baltimore artist Joyce J. Scott will be the subject of a special retrospective exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art next spring.

“Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams” amounts to the most comprehensive exhibition ever of Scott’s five-decade career, and will come 24 years after a retrospective entitled “Joyce J. Scott: Kickin’ It With the Old Masters” at the BMA.

The BMA and Seattle Art Museum will attempt to capture the full range of the versatile and prolific artist’s work, which includes soft sculptures, woven tapestries, prints, wearable art and performance. She is known for her ingenious use of glass and beads, and for using art to explore issues of racism, sexism, family dynamics and ecological devastation.

BMA’s collaboration with the Seattle Art Museum partly grew out of Scott’s longtime affiliation with the art world in Seattle that included a residency with the Pilchuck Glass School, the famous studio started by Dale Chihuly in a rural county north of the city.

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"Blue Baby Book Redux," by Joyce J. Scott. Courtesy: Goya Contemporary Gallery.

“Joyce J. Scott is a living legend and a pillar of Baltimore’s artistic community, whose multi-disciplinary practice has a profound effect on everyone who encounters it,” said Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis director. “The BMA has had the honor of engaging audiences with Scott’s work for many years through exhibitions, public programs, and acquisitions. We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the Seattle Art Museum to present this comprehensive exhibition that highlights the remarkable range of her career and celebrates the passion, vision, and innovative spirit that pervades her work.”

Scott, 74, was born in Baltimore and grew up in the Sandtown neighborhood in West Baltimore. One of her creations is the “Memorial Pool” in nearby Druid Hill Park, the pool used by Black residents during the days of segregation. She comes from an artistic family who created functional objects of art over the decades of life lived with slavery, sharecropping, migration and segregation.

Her mother Elizabeth Scott, who died in 2011 at age 95, was a quilt maker and artist herself. Her work will be shown in an upcoming companion exhibition at the BMA on Nov. 12.

Joyce Scott and her mother had a very close relationship and the two shared a home for all of Elizabeth’s life. Scott considered her mother her “first art teacher,” said Cecilia Wichmann, a curator of contemporary art at the BMA.

“Her life and work really have a lot to teach us about creativity, and the way we can use our creativity to evolve a better way to be with each other in the world,” Wichmann said. “Her work tackles all the difficult isms and the way the world can be a destructive place. Her work is also dazzling. She uses beauty and she uses deep humor to draw viewers in to connect with her work.”

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Scott is one of Baltimore’s most famous and accomplished artists with an encyclopedic resume that includes a MacArthur genius grant in 2016. The catalog that will accompany the retrospective is 300 pages long.

Joyce Scott earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Instituto Allende in Mexico. She has received honorary doctorates from MICA, the California College of the Arts and the Johns Hopkins University.

“Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams” will be on view at the BMA from March 24 to July 14, and at the Seattle Art Museum from Oct. 17 to Jan. 20, 2025.

This article has been updated with the correct amount of time that has passed since “Joyce J. Scott: Kickin’ It With the Old Masters” was on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Hugo Kugiya is a reporter for the Express Desk and has formerly reported for the Associated Press, Newsday, and the Seattle Times.

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