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Courtney McClellan: Simulations

Jan 30, 2021 - Mar 27, 2021
12pm - 4pm

2019/2020 Working Artist Project

This round of Working Artist Projects was curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

About Simulations

For more than six years, artist Courtney McClellan has studied the relationship between performance and the law. Her inquiry centers on the legal simulations and professional practices used to educate future attorneys. During trial simulation, students may play the role of lawyer, witness, or judge in the courtroom. Their actions are often theatrical and their assertions are often speculative. Curator Robert Blackson said, “Simulation is practice in service to theory.”

Simulations is a photo installation that includes images of practice courtrooms at law schools across the American South. The series depicts spaces that simultaneously function as courtroom, classroom, and theater. These sites occasionally host the actual adjudication of law, for example a state appellate case, and thus blur the boundaries between real and staged experience. McClellan’s images address this interwoven architecture of training, performance, and power.

About the Artist

Atlanta Georgia artist Courtney McClellan is both a visual artist and writer from Greensboro, N.C. She earned her B.A. in Studio Art and Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008, and in 2013, she earned her M.F.A. from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2013-2014, McClellan was the Fountainhead Fellow in the Sculpture and Extended Media Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, and from 2015-2017 she was the Sculpture Fellow at the University of Georgia. She was a 2017-2018 Museum of Fine Arts Boston Traveling Fellow, and has been an artist in residence at the Hambidge Center, Wassaic Projects, and Yaddo. Courtney’s work was included in SculptureCenter’s 2018 exhibition In Practice: Another Echo.  Additionally, she was awarded the 2019-2020 Roman J. Witt Residency at the University of Michigan where she created Witness Lab, an interdisciplinary, collaborative project with the Stamps School of Art students and faculty which culminated in an exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.  Courtney was recently named 2021 Innovator in Residence for the Library of Congress.

Additional Press & Information Links

Witness Lab, University of Michigan Museum of Art