Janet Echelman Bio

Janet Echelman

years with Cynthia-Reeves: 6
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Pulse, public art installation, Philadelphia, PA, expected 2016
1.8, public art installation, London, UK, 2016
WONDER, exhibition, Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C., 2015
As If It Were Already Here, public art installation, Boston, MA, 2015
Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, 2014
Taking Imagination Seriously, TED Talk, 2011

My sculpture thrives in the context of the city, interacting with people in the course of their daily lives. These monumental netted sculptural environments move through time, animated by an ever-changing “wind choreography,” making invisible air currents suddenly visible to the human eye. I make living, breathing pieces that respond to the forces of nature – wind, light, water. — Janet Echelman

American artist Janet Echelman reshapes urban airspace with monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water and sunlight. Drawing inspiration from both ancient craft and modern technology, incorporating materials from woven fiber to atomized mist, these seemingly living and breathing installations invite residents to participate and immerse themselves with the art – inviting viewers to have a personal dialogue and dynamic relationship with art and place. Her recent US exhibition, As If It Were Already Here, a monumental aerial installation suspended over Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway, soars 600 feet through the air, above street traffic and pedestrian park. Sculpture Magazine qualified Echelman’s work as “one of the truly significant public artworks in recent years”.

A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Harvard University Loeb Fellowship, a Fulbright Lectureship, and the Aspen Institute Crown Fellowship, Echelman’s TED Talk “Taking Imagination Seriously” has been translated into 34 languages, and with more than one million views to date. She was named an Architectural Digest Innovator for “changing the very essence of urban spaces” and received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts in 2014. Echelman is among nine leading contemporary artists chosen for the inaugural exhibition, WONDER, at the Smithsonian Museum’s newly designed Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.

Echelman’s woven sculpture corresponds to a map of the energy released across the Pacific Ocean during the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. The event was so powerful it shifted the earth on its axis and shortened the day, March 11, 2011, by 1.8 millionths of a second, lending this work its title. Waves taller than the 100-foot length of this gallery ravaged the west coast of Japan, reminding us that what is wondrous can equally be dangerous.” (WONDER, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Museum)