Photo: Roy Besson

Photo: Roy Besson


Mary Ellen Carroll lives and works in Houston, TX and New York, NY

Mary Ellen Carroll’s career as an artist spans over twenty years across a range of disciplines including architecture, public policy, writing, performance and film. The foundation of her practice is the investigation of a single, fundamental question: what do we consider a work of art? Using public policy as material, Public Utility 2.0 is analogous to a work of land art, albeit for radio frequency. A long-term project with unused television frequencies in New Orleans, Public Utility 2.0 was commissioned for the biennial Prospect.3: New Orleans. Carroll continues to work on her opus prototype 180 that makes architecture perform as a work of art. It employs land-use policy as its foundation. Begun in 1999, prototype 180 entails a radical urban renovation through the 180-degree revolution and reoccupation of a single-family home in the aging, first ring subdivision of Sharpstown in Southwest Houston, Texas.

Carroll is the recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Graham Foundation Fellowship for prototype 180 and an AIA’s Artist of the Year Award. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, Pollack-Krasner Foundation Award, Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and was recently awarded a Robert Rauschenberg Residency during which she completed the series My Struggle. Comprised of over 400 unique works that combine printing, drawing and painting, My Struggle makes memory and the subjective an objective conceptual process.

Her work has been exhibited internationally at: Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Johann Jacobs Museum, Zurich, Switzerland; ICA Philadelphia, PA; Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL; ICA London, United Kingdom; Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich, Germany; the Generali Foundation and MOMUK in Vienna, Austria; and in the Busan Biennale, South Korea. Carroll’s work is in numerous public and private collections. She has taught Public Policy and Architecture at Rice University, Columbia University, Pusan National University, South Korea, and University of California at Irvine. A 2010 monograph on Carroll’s work published by SteidlMACK was a recipient of the AIGA’s Book of the Year Award.