Michael Jones McKean (b. Micronesia, 1976) is an American artist based in New York City. McKean’s work explores the nature of objects in relation to folklore, technologies, anthropology, and mysticism. His often complex installations and sculptures use expansive yet specific orderings of materials, processes, and substances to construct dense narrative and associative spaces.
McKean’s work engages an interest in deep time, timescales and their collapse while in the process de-centering historically anthropocentric registrations of events, distances, and meaning. He often presents seemingly incongruous objects in careful arrangement, at times quoting vernacular museological display techniques. Through his working process he challenges stable definitions such as real and replica, natural and synthetic, fact and fiction, past and future by employing media as diverse as ancient meteorites, primitive textiles, obsolete technologies, raw clay, psychotropic medicines, and prismatic rainbows.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nancy Graves Foundation Award, as well as fellowships and residencies at The Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The MacDowell Colony, The International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City, The Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in New York City.
McKean’s work has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annedale-On-Hudson, NY: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston: Parc Saint Leger Centre d’art Contemporain, Nevers, France: Horton Gallery, New York, NY: Manifestation Internatiationle d’art de Quebec Biennale, Quebec City, Canada: Gentili Apri, Berlin, Germany: The Art Foundation, Athens, Greece: Parisian Laundry, Montreal, Canada: Project Gentili, Prato, Italy and Shenkar University, Tel Aviv, Israel.