The Boca Raton Museum of Art Presents New Video Art Installation: “Solitary Acts” by Janet Biggs Inaugurates one of the Museum’s Newest Architectural Renovations: the Wolgin Education Center Now on view, through September 27
The Boca Raton Museum of Art recently unveiled Phase II of its architectural renovations, with the debut of the new Wolgin Education Center which features major new art installations. One of these new works of art is the video installation “Solitary Acts,” by Janet Biggs. “Solitary Acts” is presented as a large-scale projection on the wall. This exhibition is made possible with the support of the Museum’s Leadership Donors. Janet Biggs is a videographer, photographer, and performance artist whose work depicts individuals in extreme situations, often in landscapes such as the Arctic, the Horn of Africa, the Taklamakan Desert in China, and sites in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and around the United States. Biggs is engaged with the issues of the day, including climate change and environmental degradation addressed in this video installation. Biggs works with scientists such as aerospace engineers, astrophysicists, Polar researchers, explorers, and neuroscientists. She even “visited” Mars when she donned a spacesuit for a residency of several weeks with the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. This facility simulates the Mars Mission for scientists and researchers. These two videos are examples of the intensity she seeks in both her art and life.
The Museum’s new Wolgin Education Center takes prominence at the entry to the Museum with full exposure to Mizner Park and visitors passing the Museum. In 2001, the space was named the Wolgin Auditorium in recognition of a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Wolgin and Dr. and Mrs. William Wolgin to support the original construction. Recently, three generations of Wolgin's, including Mrs. Sidney Wolgin, Dr. William Wolgin, Shelley Wolgin Gold &andJeffrey Gold, and Andrea and Daniel Wolgin, together provided a seed gift of $50,000 to support ongoing programming for the new multi-purpose space. With their gift, the Museum created the 70th Anniversary Education Fund. Donations to the fund will purchase state of the art audiovisual equipment to enliven award-winning programs, lectures, and film screenings. Contributions will support program expenses including our education mornings where 5,000 students each year learn the art of looking and making. This second phase of architectural renovations, completed in June 2020, positions the Museum as a fresh cultural landmark in downtown Boca Raton, and as a more vital educational resource for the whole community.
The generosity and commitment of the Museum’s patrons make possible these key projects. To that end, the Museum and the community celebrate the recent gift of $1 million from Jody and Martin Grass and their children Leila, Sharla, and Noah. The contribution is one of the largest cash gifts in the Museum’s history and underscores years of dedicated stewardship shown by the family – Jody has served as chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees since 2016. The Grass gift made possible the completion of the Education Center and the new Lobby projects. Their support, along with another key gift of $600K from Nick and Patricia Ohnell, now allow the Museum to start on changing and improving the entrance path to and renovating the sculpture garden – projects anticipated to be completed in 2021 in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Museum in Mizner Park. The new renovations – including the Wolgin Education Center where this video art installation is on view – were designed by Margi Glavovic Nothard/ Glavovic Studio.
More About the Artist Janet Biggs, a 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellow, lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Biggs' work focuses on individuals in extreme landscapes or situations and often navigates territory between art and science. She has captured such events as kayaks performing a synchronized ballet in Arctic waters and sulfur miners inside an active volcano. Recent projects have explored the creation and loss of memory from personal, physical, and scientific perspectives. Biggs’ work has taken her into areas of conflict in the Horn of Africa and to Mars (as a member of crew 181 at the Mars Desert Research Station). She has collaborated with neuroscientists, Arctic explorers, aerospace engineers, astrophysicists, Yemeni refugees, and a robot.
In addition to videos, her recent work includes multi-discipline performances, often including multiple large-scale videos, live musicians, and athletes. Biggs has had solo exhibitions and film screenings at the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre and the Museo de la Ciencia y el Cosmos de Tenerife; Neuberger Museum of Art; SCAD Museum of Art; Blaffer Art Museum; Musee d'art contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Tampa Museum of Art; Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; and the Mint Museum of Art; among others. Her work has been featured in the First International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena, Colombia; the Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, France; Vantaa Art Museum, Finland; Linkopings Konsthall, Passagen, Sweden; the Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Austria; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; Museo d'arte contemporanea Roma, Italy; and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan.
Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, ArtForum, ARTNews, Art in America, Flash Art, Artnet.com, and many others.
Biggs is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, the Electronic Media and Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts Award, the Arctic Circle Fellowship/Residency, Art Matters, Inc., the Wexner Center Media Arts Program Residency, the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, and the NEA Fellowship Award.
Her work is in collections including La Collezione Videoinsight®, Turin, Italy; Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporain (FRAC), Languedoc-Roussillon, France; Zabludowicz Collection, London, England; the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL: the High Museum, Atlanta, GA; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; and Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, NC.; and the New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, Connecticut.
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