January 09, 2024 Artist Jean Shin Commissioned to Activate the Carter’s First-Floor Gallery with a Site-Specific Installation Created from the Clothing of Museum Staff

A portrait of an Asian woman with glasses and long black hair standing in front of an art installation.

Opening July 13, 2024, Jean Shin: The Museum Body Aims to Render a Nuanced Portrait of the Individuals Who Comprise Cultural Institutions

Fort Worth, TX, January 9, 2024—The Amon Carter Museum of American Art (the Carter) announces installation artist Jean Shin as the next contemporary artist to transform the Museum’s first-floor sloping gallery—the space linking the Carter’s original 1961 building and the 2001 expansion—with a site-specific commission on view from July 13, 2024, through June 2025. Shin’s sculptural works, known for their scale and evocative use of found items, often interrogate the complex relationship between material consumption, collective identity, and community engagement.

For her installation at the Carter, titled Jean Shin: The Museum Body, Shin seeks to create a textile-based “portrait” of the Museum’s staff, both those visible and invisible to the general public, who enable a museum to function. The installation will consist of donated garments representing the collective work of the people within the institution. Separating the fabric from its seams, Shin will shape these elements into a large-scale wall mural with immersive hanging elements that will activate the gallery walls and ceiling. The clothing will be collected from members of the Carter’s staff—including curators, conservators, educators, executive leadership, facilities staff, and more—and then deconstructed, re-assembled, and installed with a focus on adapting to the unique architecture of the space. The democratization of the collected garments invokes the breakdown of institutional hierarchies.

The Museum Body is a reiteration and expansion of Cut Outs and Suspended Seams (2004), a project presented by Shin twenty years ago at the Museum of Modern Art QNS. The donated materials from the Carter staff will be interwoven with the pre-existing MoMA work as an evolving record of the global art community. Rather than creating a snapshot of a single institution at an exact moment in time, the project, which will continue beyond the Carter work, will build toward an iterative, fluid body that continues to adapt to reflect changes in the museum world.

Jean Shin: The Museum Body is an opportunity to showcase the work of a critical figure in American art today, but also the individuals on our staff who make up the fabric of this institution,” says Executive Director Andrew J. Walker. “While we often find ways to identify ourselves in works of art, with this installation, the Carter team will get the chance to quite literally see themselves represented on our gallery walls.”

As with much of Shin’s work, Jean Shin: The Museum Body deconstructs the familiar to create something entirely new. Shin sees the clothing’s seams as the structure—the mechanisms of an institution, the system in place that enables it to retain its function—whereas the actual fabric itself, the individuals within the institution, are what provide protection, warmth, and softness. In her creation of a soft sculpture, she nods at the concepts of “soft power” and “soft skills” often found in museum spaces, probing the role of identity and visibility within the greater context of a community. With the original 2004 MoMA project being Shin’s first solo exhibition, this new iteration bridges the years in between, capturing not only the changes within Shin’s own career but also the tectonic shifts that have occurred at the core of the global workplace.

“Jean is effectively creating a living, breathing portrait of many of the people who make an art world. Rather than just being anonymous institutional entities, museums are, at their cores, a reflection of the hearts and minds of those who devote their time and energies to the place,” says Maggie Adler, the Carter’s Curator of Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper. “Jean Shin: The Museum Body encourages the visitor to be immersed in that labor as a tactile manifestation of all the people’s efforts, sometimes out of the spotlight, that cause a museum to flourish. It is a reflection of where the art world has been and the state of who constitutes the museum body in the current era.”

Shin is the fifth artist to debut new site-specific work in the first-floor gallery space as part of the Carter’s commissioning initiative, which has featured works from Leonardo Drew (2023-24), Stephanie Syjuco (2021-22), Natasha Bowdoin (2020-21), and Justin Favela (2019-20). The “sloping gallery” initiative, which began in 2019 as a means of reimagining the corridor joining the Carter’s two buildings, provides a venue for the curatorial team to spotlight work by living artists. While connecting physical space, the gallery also bridges past and present, ushering in new work by today’s artists who find inspiration in the American artistic tradition.

Jean Shin: The Museum Body is organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. The exhibition is supported in part by the Alice L. Walton Foundation Temporary Exhibitions Endowment.

About Jean Shin

Jean Shin (b. 1971) is known for her expansive and often public sculptures, transforming accumulations of discarded, everyday objects into powerful monuments to consumption, identity, community, labor, and ecology. Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in the U.S., Shin is currently based in New York. Her work has been widely exhibited and collected in over 150 major museums and cultural institutions, including solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC; and Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, where in 2020 she was the first Korean American woman artist featured in a solo exhibition. Shin has received numerous awards, including the Frederic Church Award for her contributions to American art and culture. Her works have been highlighted in The New York Times and Sculpture Magazine, among others.

Her body of work includes several permanent public artworks commissioned by major agencies and municipalities, including a landmark commission for the MTA’s Second Ave Subway in NYC. She is a tenured Adjunct Professor at Pratt Institute and holds an honorary doctorate from New York Academy of Art. Her piece for the 2023 Armory Show Huddled Masses, organized by the curator Eva Respini and presented by Boston’s Praise Shadows Art Gallery, was called a “standout” by The New York Times. Shin works in Brooklyn and Hudson Valley, New York.

About the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Located in the heart of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art (the Carter) is a dynamic cultural resource that provides unique access and insight into the history and future of American creativity through its expansive exhibitions and programming. The Carter’s preeminent collection includes masterworks by legendary American artists such as Ruth Asawa, Alexander Calder, Frederic Church, Stuart Davis, Robert Duncanson, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, and John Singer Sargent, as well as one of the country’s foremost repositories of American photography. In addition to its innovative exhibition program and engagement with artists working today, the Museum’s premier primary research collection and leading conservation program make it a must-see destination for art lovers and scholars of all ages nationwide. Admission is always free. To learn more about the Carter, visit cartermuseum.org.