National Museum of Women in the Arts
Alice Aycock
November 20 1946 - present
Photograph of Alice Aycock, courtesy of the artist
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
AL-iss AY-kahk
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Sculpture, Installation Art
Artistic Role(s):
Installation Artist, Printmaker, Sculptor
Abstraction, Land Art, Earthworks, Environmental Art
Artist's Biography:
Sculptor Alice Aycock creates large-scale environmental pieces that are exhibited in outdoor sculpture gardens and museum collections. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Aycock received her early training at Douglass College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, then moved to New York and attended Hunter College, studying with Robert Morris. Morris encouraged her to incorporate sculpture as a tool for exploring experiences, and her early works were site-specific structures incorporating wood, stone, and earth. An early work in 1972 consisted of a wooden maze thirty-two feet across on an isolated farm in Pennsylvania, and her 1973 piece Low Building with Dirt Roof (for Mary) was dedicated to her mother.

Her work is inspired by childhood memories, fantasy, metaphysics, her many trips abroad to visit the ancient ruins of Greece, Turkey, and Egypt, and her interaction with ancient structures of the American Southwest and Mexico. The childhood stories of her grandmother and her father’s architectural and engineering skills also contributed to the themes and materials of her pieces. Aycock’s works of the 1970s have an interactive component; encouraging visitors to crawl into her artistic spaces, such as her 1977 work, Documentia, that connected five sculptural areas through a system of underground tunnels. Her works of the 1980s were playful and smaller than the site-specific earth structures of the previous decade. Aycock began to incorporate steel and industrial materials into her large outdoor sculptures that combined scientific ideas and machinery in the late 1980s and through the 1990s.

Aycock has taught at numerous institutions, such as the Rhode Island School of Design, Princeton University, and the San Francisco Art Institute. She has created installations throughout the world and at numerous locations in the United States, including The Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York.

Other Occupation(s):
Professor, Traveler
Place(s) of Residence:
New York
Where Trained/Schools:
Hunter College, New York, NY, USA (1968-1971) Douglass College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA (1964-1968)
Related Visual Artists:
student of Robert Morris
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Artist's Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, USA (1986, 1980, 1975) Creative Arts and Public Service Grant, New York State Council on the Arts, New York, NY, USA (1976)
Earliest exhibition:
26 Contemporary Women Artists, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT, USA (1971)
NMWA exhibition(s):
The Washington Print Club Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition: Graphic Legacy
Four Centuries of Women's Art: The National Museum of Women in the Arts
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997
Artist retrospective(s):
Complex Visions, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, NY, USA (1990) Retrospective of Projects and Ideas 1972-1983, Wurttembergischer Kunstuerein, Stuttgart, Germany (1983)
Miami Proposal II [Steel, Concrete, Water] (Above - The Wheely Whirly Steps / Below - The Island of the Assembly Place), 1990
The Great God Pan (from the series The Machine that Makes the World), 1980
Miami Proposal II [Steel, Concrete, Water] (Above - The Wheely Whirly Steps / Below - The Island of the Assembly Place)
The Great God Pan (from the series, "The Machine that Makes the World")