National Museum of Women in the Arts
Tara Donovan
November 16 1969 - present
Photograph of Tara Donovan, 2005, by Ellen Labenski, courtesy of PaceWildenstein, New York, NY, USA
Place of Birth:
New York
Phonetic Spelling:
TAIR-uh DAHN-o-vehn
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Performance Art , Sculpture
Artistic Role(s):
Installation Artist, Sculptor
Artist's Biography:
Tara Donovan continues to transform the way in which everyday commercial materials are used. Using plastic drinking straws, toothpicks, nails, fishing line, plastic buttons, and tar paper, Donovan creates flowing, often self-supporting wall, floor, and ceiling installations which suggest the organic nature of a physical landscape. Donovan installs her works in museums and galleries, letting the materials naturally form the structures she envisions. The gallery becomes her studio and as works move and are shown in different venues, their forms evolve with the changing space. By using recognizable materials, Donovan continually stretches the viewer’s imagination.

Donovan was born in 1969 in New York, where she still lives and works. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Corcoran School of Art in 1991 and later earned a Master of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999. That same year she had her first solo exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In 2000, she participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, where she showed Ripple, a work comprised of cut electrical wire, arranged in a river of curving lines on the floor of the museum.

Donovan has also shown her work at Ace Gallery in New York and Los Angeles, and has received a number of awards and grants from foundations such as the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in 2001.

Place(s) of Residence:
New York
Place(s) of Activity:
Where Trained/Schools:
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA (1997-1999) Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, USA (1988-1991) School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, USA (1987-1988)
Fellowships, grants and awards:
William L. Metcalf Award in Art, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY, USA (2004) President's Award, Women's Caucus for Art, New York, NY, USA (2004) Grant, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc., New York, NY, USA (2002-2003)
Earliest exhibition:
New Sculpture, Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA, USA (1998)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Modern Love: Gifts to the Collection from Heather and Tony Podesta
Artist retrospective(s):
Tara Donovan, Akira Ikeda Gallery, Berlin, Germany (2004) Curve Series: Tara Donovan, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH, USA (2003) Tara Donovan: Whorl, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA (1999)