Mel Ziegler’s work Flag Exchange is the cornerstone of A Living Thing, on view in the Walter Gallery this spring. Ziegler is widely known for his collaborative work with his late partner Kate Ericson. Beginning in the early 1980s, Ericson Ziegler pioneered the emergence of socially engaged practice and community engagement as vital forms of contemporary art. In the broadest sense, Ziegler's work asserts the value of rural identities and aesthetics and locates authentic spaces within the increasingly fragmented American experience. For Ziegler, the American landscape is a place of deep distress and profound optimism, yet his work finds new possibilities through monumentalizing and honoring the everyday.
America Starts Here, the Ericson Ziegler retrospective, was co-organized by the The Tang Teaching Museum and List Visual Arts Center at MIT and toured the country. Ziegler has presented solo exhibitions at venues including Secession, Vienna; Artpace, San Antonio; and the Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal. Ericson Ziegler’s work is held in the collections of SFMOMA, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. Ziegler is Paul E. Shwab Chair in Fine Arts, Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. He is the founder of the Sandhills Institute in Rushville, Nebraska, which is a catalyst for developing new models of artistic citizenship in America’s heartland. Ziegler is represented by Galerie Perrotin.
Image Credit: Debate Watch Party in A More Perfect Union featuring Mel Ziegler’s Flag Exchange, Tang Teaching Museum, October 9, 2016, photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Perrotin.