Lauren Frances Adams was born on a pig farm in Snow Hill, North Carolina in 1979. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and with a Masters of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007.
Adams has exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh), the Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Nymans House National Trust (England), Royal NoneSuch Gallery (Oakland, CA), The Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh, PA), EXPO Chicago (with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis), Contemporary Applied Arts (London) and CUE Art Foundation (New York).
She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, held a residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, La Cité internationale des Arts in Paris, France, and Sacatar Foundation in Itaparica, Brazil. She is the recipient of the 2007 Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award and a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. She is the 2016 winner of the Trawick Prize, and a 2016 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award recipient.
Adams’ artistic expertise engages archives of historic sites. Her most recent works from 2018 were a series of paintings that explore the recent removal of the Confederate monuments in Baltimore – and who put them there. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (and other activist groups) were responsible for constructing false Civil War narratives and for the intense rallying around monuments to Confederate memory in the 20th century – many installed 50-90 years after the end of the Civil War. This series of paintings and prints focus on the women of the UDC, ahistorical mythmaking of the Lost Cause, and whiteness, in an attempt to reveal connections between white supremacy and the shaping of public opinion through monument building. This work was supported by funding from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and has been reviewed in Hyperallergic and The Baltimore Sun.
Older projects involve Elizabethan colonialism, John White’s illustrations of Croatoan natives, and the legend of the Lost Colony. This work was exhibited at the Luminary Center for the Arts (St. Louis, MO), Conner Contemporary (Washington, DC), the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Arts (North Carolina), and the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis (Missouri).
She has collaborated on a number of projects involving painting, performance, video, and installation. Centennial of the Everyday was a public art project that Lauren Frances Adams and Stewart Watson mounted at the historic Gadsby’s Tavern Museum in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2017. Adams has worked with Temporary Art Review, a platform for contemporary art criticism that focuses on alternative spaces and critical exchange among disparate art communities. A 2010 publication with Allison Smith, entitled Needle Work, resulted from curating an exhibition of Smith’s work at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. The catalogue is distributed by the University of Chicago Press. House Coat, a project conceived by Elizaveta Meksin in fabricated textiles, was collaboratively installed in 2011 on the exterior of Adams’ house in St. Louis, MO, as part of the Cosign Projects platform. Lauren was a founding member of Ortega Y Gasset Projects in New York, and was a co-director from 2015 – 2018.
Lauren’s artwork primarily features painting, drawing, printmaking, digital manipulation and sometimes video and performance in the context of installation works. She is a trained mural painter, expertise that she brings into her large-scale on-site installations. Her interests include archival research on political propaganda, the history of decorative arts, and labor movements.
Adams currently holds a position as full-time faculty in the Painting Department at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD.