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Terry Allen

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Statement/Biography

Terry Allen is an exceptionally gifted artist whose original voice expresses complex ideas. His legendary story-telling ability is the key to his creative productivity. He embraces theoretical conceptualism on the one hand and popular vernacular on the other. Described by L.A. Times art critic David Pagel as a "multitalented master of multitasking," Allen stretches traditional definitions of the creative process, expanding our understanding of what it means to be an artist and what form art can take. Allen was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1943 and was subsequently raised in Lubbock, Texas. Influenced by country western music and rock and roll, Allen knew from an early age that he wanted to work in the arts and in the mid-sixties traveled to Los Angeles to study at Chouinard Art Institute where he earned his BFA in 1966. He then developed a storyline and cast of characters that morphed into a major body of visual art including musical and theatrical performances, sculpture, painting, drawing, video, and installations.


His work is in major corporate collections throughout the United States, and also installed in many public and outdoor spaces. The University of Texas Press published a comprehensive profile of Allen’s work with text written by the renowned art critic Dave Hickey. He has won numerous prestigious awards such as National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, an Award in the Visual Arts, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and induction into Lubbock’s Buddy Holly Walk of Fame.  Selected museum collections include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Detroit Institute of Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Since 1987 Allen has resided in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife Jo Harvey, a well-known actress and author.