Reedies are notoriously creative, and this is especially true in the visual arts. Throughout the U.S. you can find Reed alumni working in art, and many are noted for their innovation, their integrity, and, in true Reed style, for the added cerebral content of their work.

The following is just a sample of the many notable artists who have attended Reed College. The seven visual artists profiled here all have achieved national or international reputations and have exhibited their artwork in museums and galleries nationwide and worldwide. Some are relative newcomers to the art world, and some are established figures. All have dedicated their careers and lives to art, although not all of them studied art at Reed. They all help us remember how much art adds to our lives—beauty, ambiguity, color, shape, richness, texture—and how its puzzles and questions keep us thinking.



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by Nadine
Fiedler ’89

Melinda Hunt '81
Melinda Hunt '81
  Melinda Hunt is a sculptor, an installation artist, a public artist, a woman whose work resonates with social concerns. Hunt worked for many years in public art projects that dealt with memory and landscapes.

Grave of Child with Prison Documents, 1998

AIDS Grave of Child with Prison Documents, 1998



Her extensive work in public parks included Letters to a Forest, wherein New York schoolchildren asked authors to write a letter to Brooklyn's last remaining woodland; the results were installed in the park. She became aware in 1991 of Hart Island, where the poor, unknown, and unwanted—mostly children—are buried in mass graves that are bulldozed every 25 years. This led Hunt to research and commemorate the history and stories of the island. This art project led to the 1998 publication of the book Hart Island (Scalo), in collaboration with photographer Joel Sternfeld. "I don't consider my work to be political activism," she said. "The image of the artist standing outside looking in on society and then placing oneself in that context is both documentary and self-reflexive."


Loren Madsen '65
  Loren Madsen's current sculptures look like formal experiments, but there's more to them than that. Inspired by the differences in living costs for artists now and when he first began working in art, Madsen started consulting the Statistical Abstract of the U.S.  

Laminated basswood, 44"h x 21"w x 26"deep
Each layer = 1 year (1960-1994)
Horizontal dimension = fuels costs
Vertical dimension = food costs
Center line = housing costs

He soon began translating data into three-dimensional laminated wood sculpture.
He went on to investigate and make concrete other topics, including world population over time, and the historical relationship of defense spending versus social spending in the U.S. He has been commissioned to create permanent sculpture installations in the U.S. and Japan and has shown his work nationally and internationally. His work is in the collection of museums that include the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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