Jessica Stockholder


Jessica Stockholder
Jessica Stockholder; photo: Lloyd Degrane

Where Does Art Come From?


Mixed media



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About Open Studio

Designed by practicing artists, the Open Studio classroom activities aim to connect high school teachers and students with key ideas and issues in contemporary art. See all of the Open Studio activities.


Things made by people surround us. They involve myriad ways of making and are made in many different places. Each thing is charged with a host of references and meanings. All objects are made in response to the circumstances surrounding the maker. The object you make for this activity will be circumscribed by what is available to you wherever you are. Taking part in this activity is an invitation to take note of the very ordinary things that you may not otherwise notice. Ordinary things are full of significance.

The art comes from your intersection with what's around you.


Buy or collect 20 objects that are all the same. Use these objects as building blocks to create an object that in the process renders the original objects secondary (but not necessarily unimportant.)

Feel free to alter the objects.

Be attentive to the quality of the materials used to make the objects you chose, the size of the objects in relation to your body and the room or building you are in, and the color of the objects.

You might make use of various tools and materials: tape, glue, scissors, hammer and nails, camera, printer, staples, etc.

Your final project could be a flat pictorial work, a film, or a sculptural object.

Artist Biography

Jessica Stockholder

Born in 1959 in Seattle, Washington
Currently lives in Chicago, Illinois

Stockholder's work stands at the intersection between painting and sculpture. She has exhibited widely in North America and Europe and has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is the Chair of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. Stockholder is known for her vibrant use of color and consideration of architecture in her site-specific installations. She uses a plethora of materials as grounds for the illusionistic picture making possibilities inherent in their surfaces. Stockholder's work includes a duality of classical formal structure contrasted against the chaotic abundance of the world. Her work makes room for happiness to emerge from challenge and difficulty. In 2013, Stockholder was commissioned by SFMOMA to produce a piece for Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley, an exhibition presented at multiple locations throughout downtown Los Altos. Stockholder's piece, Cross Hatch, reconfigures a main thoroughfare in the Silicon Valley city with fractured geometric shapes that call to mind the everyday performances of pedestrians and automobiles.