Hamilton graduated from the University of Kansas in 1979 with a BFA in Textile Design. She attended Yale School of Art and received her MFA in Sculpture in 1985. She was a faculty member at the University of California, Santa Barbara from 1985-1991. She is currently a Distunguished University Professor at the Ohio State University in their Department of Art. Among her many honors, Hamilton has been the recipient of the Heinz Award, MacArthur Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, and the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. She represented the United States in the 1991 Sao Paulo Bienal, the 1999 Venice Biennale, and has exhibited extensively around the world. Her major commissions include projects for Waterfront Seattle (upcoming); Park Avenue Armory (2013); The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis (2010); The Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009); Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan (2006); La Maison Rouge Fondation de Antoine Galbert, Paris, France (2005); Historiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2004); MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2003); The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2003, 1991); The Wanas Foundation, Knislinge, Sweden (2002); Akira Ikeda Gallery, Taura, Japan (2001); The Musee d'art Contemporain, Lyon, France (1997); The Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (1996); The Art Institute of Chicago (1995); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1994); The Tate Gallery, Liverpool (1994); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1993); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988).
Ann Hamilton is a visual artist internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multi-media installations. Using time as process and material, her methods of making serve as an invocation of place, of collective voice, of communities past and of labor present. Noted for a dense accumulation of materials, her ephemeral environments create immersive experiences that poetically respond to the architectural presence and social history of their sites. Whether inhabiting a building four stories high or confined to the surface of a thimble, the genesis of Hamilton's art extends outwards from the primary projections of the hand and mouth. Her attention to the uttering of a sound or the shaping of a word with the hand places language and text at the tactile and metaphoric center of her installations. To enter their liminality is to be drawn equally into the sensory and linguistic capacities of comprehension that construct our faculties of memory, reason and imagination.