“I Never Start with Nothing”: Mary Lum on Collage and Constructed Geographies

“What's exciting to me about making things is bringing fragments together. I always work with a collage process….I'm not interested in providing a linear story. I'm not interested in making someone whole through looking. What my work does mostly is it implicates the viewer as part of the story. It makes the viewer solve the problem, in a way.”

In this episode

In this episode, Caitlin Woolsey speaks with Mary Lum, a visual artist based in North Adams, Massachusetts, about how her intricate collages, paintings, and photographs explore the margins of city life, constructed geographies, and her use of text as image. 


Mary Lum headshot

Mary Lum is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited and commissioned by numerous institutions and publications, including MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; the Drawing Center, New York; and Oxford University, United Kingdom. Lum is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2010), the Radcliffe Fellowship for Advanced Study (2004–2005, 2022), and several MacDowell Fellowships. She taught at Bennington College in southern Vermont from 2005 to 2022.

This conversation was recorded on December 9, 2022.


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