Karyn Olivier

KARYN OLIVIER, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, creates sculptures, installations and public art. This year, Olivier is participating in the Whitney Biennial (NY, NY), Prospect.6 Triennial (New Orleans, LA), and the Malta Biennale (Valleta, Malta.) A memorial at historic Stenton House, honoring a formerly enslaved servant, was recently unveiled. In 2025, Olivier will unveil another Philadelphia memorial, commemorating more than 5,000 African Americans buried at Bethel Burying Ground. Last year Olivier presented her second solo show at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. In 2022 Olivier participated in Documenta 15 and installed a permanent commission for Newark Airport’s Terminal A.

Olivier has exhibited at the Gwangju and Busan biennials, the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture (Dakar, Senegal), The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of Art, MoMA P.S.1, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, The Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh), SculptureCenter (New York), ICA Watershed Boston, among others. Solo exhibitions include Everything That’s Alive Moves at Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2020), and A Closer Look at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis (2007).

Olivier has received numerous awards, including the 2020 Anonymous Was a Woman Award, the 2018–2019 Nancy B. Negley Rome Prize, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, a 2019 PEW Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts Award, a Pollock- Krasner Foundation grant, the William H. Johnson Prize, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, a Creative Capital Foundation grant, and a Harpo Foundation grant.

Olivier’s work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times; Time Out New York; The Village Voice; Art in America; Flash Art; Mousse; The Washington Post; Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art; Frieze; the Philadelphia Inquirer and Hyperallergic, among others. She is a sculpture professor at Tyler School of Art and Architecture.
MFA, Ceramics, Cranbrook Academy of Art, 2001
BA, Psychology, Dartmouth College, 1989

Selected Awards
Rome Prize (2018)
The American Academy in Rome

Guggenheim Fellowship (2007) 
The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

NYFA Award (2011)
New York Foundation for the Arts 

Selected Work
Olivier, K. 2017. The Battle is Joined [mirrored acrylic, plywood, studs]. Monument Lab, Mural 
     Arts, Philadelphia, PA, September 16–November 19, 2017.

Olivier, K. 2018. Witness [gold leaf, paint, canvas]. Memorial Hall, University of Kentucky, 
     Lexington, KY 

Olivier, K. 2015. Here and Now/Glacier, Shard, Rock [lenticular photo in billboard structure]. 
     Drifting in Daylight, Creative Time, Central Park, New York, NY, May 15–June 20, 2015.

Olivier, K. 2018. Wall [bricks, used clothing and steel]. Lehigh University Art Galleries and 
     Teaching Museum, Bethlehem, PA, January 24–May 25, 2018.

Olivier, K. 2006. Doubleslide [steel]. Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, July 19–October 
     22, 2006.