Biography | MARY MISS

Mary Miss has been redefining how art is integrated into the public realm since the early 1970s. She is interested in how artists can play a more central role in addressing the complex issues of our times—making environmental and social sustainability into tangible experiences is a primary goal. Collaboration has been central to her work as she has developed projects as diverse as creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, marking the predicted flood level of Boulder, Colorado, or revealing the history of  the Union Square Subway station in New York City.

Miss’ work crosses boundaries between landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, and graphic communication. Her vision favors site-specificity and human perception over traditional concerns of the public monument. Trained as a sculptor, her work creates situations that emphasize a site’s history, ecology, and aspects of the environment that often go unnoticed. Throughout her career, Mary Miss has collaborated closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists, and public administrators. Through these collaborative initiatives, Miss has realized the potential for artists to help encourage the involvement of all citizens and inspire the personal and political will to create revitalized, sustainable cities. In 2009 she initiated work on City as Living Laboratory, a framework for making issues of sustainability compelling to the public. 

Mary Miss has won numerous awards, including the 2023 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the  2017 Bedrock of New York Award, the 2011 Design Excellence Award for The Passage, Staten Island Memorial Green project, 2001 New York Masterworks Award for the Framing Union Square project, the Centennial Medal from the American Academy in Rome in 2001, and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Washington University in 2000. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Resident Artist at the American Academy in Rome and a recipient of several New York State Council on the Arts grants and NEA grants. City as Living Lab also received a grant from the National Science Foundation for their project, WaterMarks, in Milwaukee in 2021

Recently, Miss’ work has been shown at the Nasher in 2023, the Aldrich Museum in 2022, the Nevada Art Museum in 2021, with Thaddeus Ropac in both Paris and London in 2020 and 2021, the National Gallery of Singapore in 2018 and the Guggenheim Museum (Contemplating the Void) in 2010 among other locations.