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16 Sep 2020

Virtual Insights: Judith Scott

Wrapped, wound, and interwoven, Judith Scott’s cocoon-like sculptures offer viewers a powerful experience of intimacy, enhanced by the enigma of the artist’s intentions. Born deaf and mute with Down syndrome, Scott began creating at age forty-three, after being introduced to the Oakland-based, non-profit Creative Growth Art Center.

Reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act this year, Senior Curator Valérie Rousseau and Tom di Maria, Director of External Relations at Creative Growth Art Center, will explore Scott’s groundbreaking life and work, taking a closer look at her complex creative process and examining questions of interpretation and exhibition. This program is organized in conjunction with the current exhibition American Perspectives.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please consider making a donation when you register to support ongoing virtual programming.

After registering, you will receive an email confirmation with Zoom instructions. Please email if you have any questions.

Valérie Rousseau is Senior Curator of Self-Taught Art and Art Brut at the American Folk Art Museum. Since 2013, she has curated exhibitions on artists from various countries, including the AAMC Award–winning When the Curtain Never Comes Down on performance art (2015), Art Brut in America: The Incursion of Jean Dubuffet (2015), and shows on Paa Joe (2019), William Van Genk (2014), Bill Traylor (2013), art brut photography (2019, 2021), and self-taught literature (2018). Rousseau holds a PhD in art history from Université du Québec à Montréal and an MA in anthropology from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She has authored various essays on arts emerging outside the art mainstream, from an international perspective, notably Visionary Architectures (The Alternative Guide to the Universe, Hayward Gallery, 2013), Revealing Art Brut (Culture & Musées, 2010), and Vestiges de l’indiscipline (Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2007).

Tom di Maria was hired as Director of Creative Growth Art Center in January 2000. Since then, he has developed partnerships with museums, galleries and international design companies to help bring Creative Growth’s artists with disabilities fully into the contemporary art world. He speaks around the world about the Center’s major artists and their relationship to both Outsider Art and contemporary culture.  Prior to this position, he served as Assistant Director of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive at UC Berkeley, and Executive Director of the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. He received his MFA in photography from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, in Baltimore, and a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has received filmmaking awards from the Sundance Film Festival and other festivals for his experimental filmmaking. In 2019, he received the Visionary Award from the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

Support for 2020 remote public programs is provided by Art Bridges and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).


Image: Judith Scott (1943–2005); Untitled; 1988–1989; Oakland, California, United States; yarn and twine with unknown armature; 8 × 36 × 25 in.; gift of Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland, California, 2002.21.2; photo by Gavin Ashworth

1:00 pm–2:15 pm