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Disability Art Presented at 2009 Armory Show by VSA Arts

  • Published: 2009-02-10 (Revised/Updated 2011-08-27) : Author: VSA Arts
  • Synopsis: During the Armory Show VSA arts presented work by sixteen artists with disabilities whose work has been influenced by their disability experience.

Main Document

For its inaugural debut during the Armory Show, VSA arts is pleased to present work by sixteen artists with disabilities at Booth #1601 on Pier 94, many of whom whose work has been heavily influenced by their disability experience, re-imagining and defying the limitations of the body and the mind.

Inaugural Booth Challenges Perceptions about Disability Art

For its inaugural debut during the Armory Show, VSA arts is pleased to present work by sixteen artists with disabilities at Booth #1601 on Pier 94, many of whom whose work has been heavily influenced by their disability experience, re-imagining and defying the limitations of the body and the mind.

"The Outsider Art movement has drawn the world's attention to and critical acclaim for artists with disabilities," said Soula Antoniou, president of VSA arts. "VSA arts' inaugural booth at the Armory highlights and showcases the depth of work from artists with disabilities by considering their contributions within a greater context. We're pleased to bring the work of these artists - both established and emerging - before the critics, artists, galleries and art lovers who will be at this year's Armory Show."

Highlights include:

Connecticut native Ken Morgan's exhibition history spans three decades, with solo and group shows all over the country, his minimalistic drawings indicative of larger art world trends. In 2007, Morgan had to reclaim art and embrace technology after a stroke. His recent computer prints take his traditional background and updates it with a technical flair, the playful symbols imitating the dexterity and whimsy of acrobats. Morgan's work creates safe havens, mind-scapes, places to play, and momentary impossible realities.

From San Francisco, Emily Eifler's whimsical fabric sculptures are reminiscent of costuming, exploring boundaries in objects that are derived from the body. The resulting forms elicit an initial playful response that upon closer investigation reveal a deeply personal experience with disability. Eifler, who has a progressive neurological disorder resulting in limited mobility, uses her work to examine biological forms in an effort to exert control. Her sculptures are investigations into a fantasy tumor with clearly defined edges, where a healthy body ends and illness begins. The objects serve as models to animate a cathartic fantasy of control for the artist, who faces no specific diagnosis or cure. She uses soft, easily manipulated forms that conjure childlike, Seussian daydreams.

Often tied to the Outsider Art movement, Linda Carmella Sibio studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Italy in 1973 before going on to practice art in New York City among notable artists from the Whitney Independent Study Program.

Currently represented by the Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York, Sibio concentrates on painting and drawing, creating both large-scale works and intimate pieces.

In the mid-'80s, Sibio began to practice interdisciplinary work, combining her visual imagery with performance. Her journey as an artist includes participation in solo and collaborative performance, theater, dance, playwriting, and visual art for more than five years. The themes of her work originate from difficult issues such as homelessness, mental illness, suicide, and mass murder. "Trapped" (96 x 48 in.) is gouache and sumi ink on paper.

Other artists on display at VSA arts' booth include:

Lanham Bundy of Providence, Rhode Island; Caleb Charland of Brewer, Maine; Busser Howell of New York City; Sophie Kahn of Brooklyn; Lihua Lei of Solon, Maine; Ryan McDonnell of Northampton, Massachusetts; Eric McGehearty of Lewisville, Texas; Coralina Meyer of Brooklyn; Katie Miller of Parkton, Maryland; Mark C. Parsons of Brooklyn; Gordon Sasaki of New York; Ricky Subritzky of Australia; and Mare Vaccaro of Brooklyn.

The Armory Show has been the world's leading art fair devoted exclusively to contemporary art since its introduction in 1999. The 2009 Armory Show takes place from March 5-8, 2008, at Twelfth Avenue at 55th Street, New York, NY. It is open to the public from noon to 8 p.m. March 5-7 and from noon to 7 p.m. on March 8.

Reference: VSA arts is an international nonprofit organization founded 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. VSA arts provides educators, parents, and artists with resources and the tools to support arts programming in schools and communities. VSA arts showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes increased access to the arts for people with disabilities. Each year millions of people participate in VSA arts programs through a nationwide network of affiliates and in 55 countries around the world. VSA arts is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, please visit

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