Ann McCoy

Ann is winner of a 2019 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Award, and an Editor-at-Large for the Brooklyn Rail. She teaches art history in the graduate design section of the Yale School of Drama.

She is most known for her monumental drawings and large-scale bronzes, which are taken from dreams and her studies in depth psychology and alchemy.  Going beyond the romantic tradition of Mystical Symbolism, her work is more about how the psyche needs to be addressed to transform society today. Ann was a friend of Joseph Beuys in Berlin, and was influenced by his theory and practice. She has studied Jungian psychology in depth for more than 45 years — including 25 years in Zurich with Prof. Carl A. Meier, successor to Jung. “In our age of superficiality and narcissism,” she says, “we need psyche, and very much what it has to say if we are to survive as a species.” The complex spirituality inherent in Ann’s works liken them in their authenticity to the works of that late 19th century trailblazer of abstract expressionism, Hilma af Klint.

In 1989 Ann won the Prix de Rome, which allowed her to work with alchemical collections at the Vatican Library and Corsini Palace. “My scholarly life has always been a large part of my art practice,” she says, adding that “Most of my art is tied to studies of my own dreams and the unconscious.  I am more interested in the inner life and how it determines the outer life, than in the extroverted Positivism that is currently the rule in the art world.”

Ann has been recognized by a number of prestigious grants, including two from the National Endowment for the Arts, three from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, and the coveted Prix de Rome. She is well-known for her very large drawings and large-scale bronzes, which have been exhibited at numerous prestigious international exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale. She has enjoyed 22 solo exhibitions and nearly 50 group exhibitions. As a late-career artist, Ann feels strongly that “the last stage of life has many challenges, but also represents a creative harvest.”

Ann’s works are in the permanent collections of 22 fine art museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; and, the Smithsonian American Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. See her art here.

Ann has taught at many colleges and universities since 1972, including many years at Barnard College–Columbia University, the School of Visual Arts, and more recently, the Yale School of Drama. She has also delivered her lectures for institutions in France, Germany, Poland, and India. Since 1992 she has also designed for theater, including Carnegie Hall and the National Dance Institute. She has also been a prolific writer and a frequent contributing critic to the Brooklyn Rail since 2013.

“Currently we are seeing a war on psyche,” she says. “The imagination is no longer considered a place of revelation for many. My work strives to reaffirm the dream world’s place as a source of wisdom.”