Branded at CowParade (2021)


Branded at CowParade (2021)

Paula Crown
Branded, 2021
Fiberglass and acrylic paint
84 x 29 x 48 in. 

Have you ever written your name on something you own, on the label of a tee-shirt perhaps, or on the side of a carton of milk placed within an office fridge?  You are not alone; since at least the ancient Egyptians—who would sear unique symbols on livestock with a heated piece of shaped metal so as to mark ownership of each beast—people have been branding animals, and other things.   Over time, and through use, these signatures have carried different meanings; besides ownership, they have provided information such as what product might actually be inside a jar, or to let consumers know who made what, and where it was coming from.  Said in another way, brands encourage trust.  Take for example the “White Rabbit”, a Chinese trademark featuring the image of bunny created during the Song Dynasty to establish Jinan Liu’s Fine Needle Shop as a recognizable entity within the marketplace.  Brands are many things, but they are seldom accidental; Jinan Liu’s rabbit wasn’t only meant for recognition, in China, rabbits are lucky.  Brands also project associations, qualities, and desires to their audience, who, in the case of clothing, cars, and other luxury goods, may proudly wear and display these icons to announce to the world that they too are lucky.  As far as the word is concerned, “brand” is derived from the older English word, “brond”, which meant a flaming piece of wood, or as we now call it, a “firebrand”.   And while these torches were used to likewise brand livestock and goods in the middle ages, they were also used to brand slaves.  

Paula Crown’s Branded, 2021, sits within this knotty tale to ask: what is packaged into a contemporary brand, and at what, or whose cost?  While they may connote dreams, desires, and aspirations, brands can also imply the everyday labor practices of mass production, which often exploit people, animals, and the land. Turning several puns, Branded presents a sculpture in the form of a cow covered, nose to tail, with the logotypes of high-end luxury companies.  Typically, these marks are carried by humans as signs of prestige; however, their transposition onto a cow recalls the tortured history of some brands being used to scar living beings for profit.   By presenting common things, logos, in an unusual, if not strange way, Crown offers a different angle with which to review histories and conventions we have come to take for granted.  Here, the artist, herself, is acting as a different kind of “firebrand”, a passionate activist who requests that you take pause and question your own responsibilities when considering what businesses and practices to promote.  

*** Branded is Paula Crown’s contribution to the CowParade New York City 2021, a public art exhibition across the city featuring over 55 participating artists. On September 30th, each work will be auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting God’s Love We Deliver, an organization committed to improving the health and well-being of men, women, other persons, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses, by alleviating hunger and malnutrition.

Any trademarks that appear in Branded (2021) are not owned by Paula Crown.  Branded (2021) is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by any of the trademark owners.

CHALICE at Spring/Break Art Show (2021)


CHALICE (2018), Spring/Break Art Show

Paula Crown
Painted fiberglass
84 x 70 1/8 x 69 5/8 in
213.4 x 178.1 x 177 cm

CHALICE is on view at Spring/Break Art Show in New York City September 8 – 13, 2021.  This work expands on the motif of Crown’s Solo Cup series, #solotogether with a dramatic shift in materiality and scale. While the golden vessel at such heroic scale mimics a religious reverence and our instinct to seek out a higher meaning, it most importantly asks its viewers to stand solo and together in how they will choose to address the mounting climate crisis. Looking up into the reified Chalice, one is sure to ask, “what is it that we believe in?”

Tickets and more information on Spring/Break Art Show can be found here.

Wide Awakes 2020 Window Installation, Chicago, IL


Wide Awakes 2020 Window Installation

Chicago, IL

To mark the 160th anniversary of the historic “Wide Awakes Grand Procession” Crown created a window installation at her studio in downtown Chicago. Crown melds imagery from the newly reformed Wide Awakes movement and her own graphic interpretation of an open eye. Unveiled to coincide with the Wide Awakes March on October 3, 2020, the installation will remain installed through the November 2020 presidential election keeping watch over busy N. Michigan Avenue and Millenium Park.

Created with dichroic film, a medium that Crown has explored in various artworks, the installation is a living object constantly changing with the sunlight and position of the viewer. Often considered a closed off and solitary space, Crown invites passerby’s to experience her studio and offering each of them an opportunity for awakening.

For Freedoms Awakening Billboard (2020)


For Freedoms Awakening Billboard (2020)

Paula Crown Atelier is pleased to participate in For Freedoms 2020 Awakening Campaign in collaboration with Unfinished, featuring artist-designed billboards throughout the United States. Visually diverse, each billboard includes a question and celebrates artists’ unique ability to spark conversation and enlightened listening. Paula Crown’s billboard entitled What Are You For (2020) will be on view from October 12, 2020 – November 3, 2020, at Lansdowne St & Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215

Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Crown uses this platform to ask the viewer: What are you for? Her question prompts us to consider what we stand for and what we value. It challenges each person to step outside of the negative echo chamber polluting our discourse and refocus our lens on the positive. We have the opportunity to affirm our values, rediscover commonalities, and begin again towards a better future.

This question was born from Crown’s series #IamFor (2018), an interactive artwork created for her solo exhibition with For Freedoms at Fort Gansevoort, NY. Inverting the historical use of a black ball to cast a negative vote, the artist asked visitors to write down what they stood for on a black sports ball before dropping it into an open atrium at the center of the gallery. These visitor-created messages populate the background of Crown’s 2020 billboard and remain evergreen and universal, espousing values of love, freedom, and democracy. Collaboration is central to Crown’s artistic practice and this billboard allows the initial interactive spirit of the original work to continue on. Resharing messages from 2018 and reasking this question amidst the unique challenges facing our nation in 2020 is a reminder that what we value does not change with each news cycle or political administration.

Participating artists in For Freedoms 2020 Awakening Billboard project include: Aaron Huey, Ai Weiwei, Aja Monet, Alexandra Bell , Alfredo Jaar, Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Andie Clarkson, Anisa Tavangar, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Aurora James, Dr. Baz Dreisinger, Chester Toye, Chloe Bass, Christine Sun Kim, Christine Wong Yap, Claudia Pena, Coby Kennedy, Wildcat Ebony Brown, Donald Judd/Judd Foundation, Edgar Heap of Birds, Cidney + Darian Ehya, Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms x Combo NYC, Garrett Bradley, Genevieve Gaignard, Gina Belafonte, Glenn Kaino, Gordon Hall, Grounded Memphis, Guerrilla Girls, Haleigh Nickerson, Hank Willis Thomas, Jasmine Wahi, Jesse Krimes, John Edmonds , Jonathan Gardenhire, Joshua Obawole Allen, Josue Rivas, Julie Mehretu, Jun Mabuchi, Kamal Sinclair & Takaaki Okada, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Lola Flash, Maggie Rogers, Marilyn Minter, Mark “Feijão” Milligan II, Maynard Monrow, Micah Bozeman, Michele Pred, Michelle Woo, Micki Davis, Mohsin Mohi, Muna Malik, Mutale Nkonde, Opal Tometi, Otherward, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Paula Crown, Phenomenal and AAPF, Prabal Gurung, Rachel Matthews, Russel Craig, Shepard Fairey / ObeyGiant.com, Sika Gottesman, Sofia Gallisa Muriente, Tunkasila, taylor brock, Toshi Reagon, TZ3, Yashua Klos, Yeni Mao, Zahyr Lauren | The Artist LHaz, Zhaleh Phillips, Zoe Buckman

For Freedoms is a non-partisan organization using art as a vehicle for participation to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values and was founded by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman in 2016. To learn more about For Freedoms, click here.

Photography by: Alyssa Meadows

JOKESTER (2020), Sculpture Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI



Sculpture Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

Paula Crown Atelier is pleased to announce the installation of the iconic sculpture JOKESTER at Sculpture Milwaukee 2020. Established in 2007, Sculpture Milwaukee galvanized Milwaukee’s place among the Midwest’s robust arts industry. This annual event has evolved into a beacon that attracts spectators, art lovers, tourists, and families to the heart of downtown Milwaukee every Summer.

JOKESTER takes Crown’s solo cup series and brings it to a monumental scale. The work serves as a reminder of consumption, waste, pollution, and re-use, embodying Crown’s commitment to tying her artistic practice to concrete social change – specifically, the mounting climate crisis. The signature 10-foot red sculpture acts as a stop sign, encouraging individuals to pause and examine how we shape our world, how our world shapes us, and the marks we leave behind in transient moments.

The Third Ward is a deliberate site for the work. As the area adjacent to Milwaukee’s Summerfest grounds that plays host to “the world’s largest music festival,” and numerous concerts and ethnic festivals held throughout our warmer-weather seasons, the Third Ward becomes that ground zero for cleaning up refuse left behind by transient visitors.

Like all sites of human habitation, Milwaukee was founded on the shores of a great body of water that sustains life, food, agriculture, manufacturing, sport, and recreation. Yet each pond, stream, river, lake, and ocean is increasingly under threat from the chemicals that are released through the city’s sewer system, the airborne particulate matter that settles from the sky, and the tons of garbage that finds its way into the very lifeblood of the earth. Crown’s giant red cup, crafted to perfectly mimic the throw-away culture we live in, becomes a shameful reminder of how we treat Mother Nature.

Listen below to Paula Crown’s guided tour about JOKESTER’s newest installation in Milwaukee to learn more about the series and this installation.

Sculpture Milwaukee’s guest curators for 2020 include Michelle Grabner, Lisa Sutcliff from the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Mary Jane Jacob of School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Russell Bowman is the founding art advisor of Sculpture Milwaukee and Marilu Knode has been the co-curator of the show since 2018.

Photo credit: Kevin J Miyazaki for Sculpture Milwaukee 2020

#solotogether (Messages for the City) at Times Square Arts (2020)


#solotogether (Messages for the City) at Times Square Arts (2020)

New York, NY

Paula Crown
#solotogether (Messages For The City), 2020
15 Seconds

Inherent in the creative arts, is the power to transcend politics, culture, and tribalism. Art in its myriad forms provides spaciousness for presence and reflection. It returns us to the potentiality of our true human essence and the importance of unity with others. 

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn reminded us in his Nobel Peace Prize lecture that “Falsehood can hold out against much in this world, but NOT art.” Artists are truth seekers. They make connections possible. 

Paula Crown is honored to participate in Times Square Arts, Poster House, Print Magazine, and For Freedoms citywide public art campaign featuring artist-designed PSAs and messages of love, gratitude, and solidarity with New York City’s health care and essential workers. During these turbulent times, we are reminded of the ways in which our solitudes can be unified. I am humbled by the acts of courage, integrity, and generosity exhibited daily by health care and essential workers. They are showing us the way—through their actions—that a better day will come. 

#solotogether (Messages For The City) explores the duality of our human existence, as soloists in an expansive orchestra, where each action affects the collective whole. During this global pandemic, we must embrace the truth. Our societal fabric is only as strong as the individual threads of which it is composed. We need to be as unflinching and clear in our understanding of how every action ripples through our interwoven ecosystem.

Our front line workers remind us in the most beautiful way that we are never alone. Solo and together we can find our way to healing the physical and psychological trauma of this novel disease. What happens between the space of isolation and togetherness is what matters.

Photography courtesy Maria Baranova

For Freedoms Congress (2020), Los Angeles, CA


For Freedoms Congress  (2020)

Los Angeles, CA

Atelier Paula Crown participated in new public art installation at the For Freedoms Congress in Los Angeles, February 28 – March 1, 2020.

FOR FREEDOMS creates platforms for empathetic connections and civil discourse. What if we could start discussions with what we agree on? What are our shared values? And most importantly, how can we optimize solutions to immigration, gun safety, discrimination, and health care?

For the For Freedoms Congress, Crown has created 4 public benches modified to display imagery reminiscent of advertisements on bus benches seen throughout many cities in the United States, including Los Angeles. Crown recontextualizes images, with words and drawings to prompt reflection and to create space for a broader conversation. Thoughts and Prayers presents two firearms reflected in conflict under the flattened sentiment of a clichéd phrase.  Crown confronts the viewer with a choice of action or indifference thereby urging citizens to “take action, and turn thoughts and prayers into wise policies.” Other works highlight the urgent climate crisis, immigration, freedom and a mantra about compassion for ourselves and one another. 

Contemporary political discourse is polarized. It focuses on the transmitting of information, not the receiving. We have 2 ears for listening and only one mouth for speaking. Avoiding the didactic, Crown is interested in the viewer’s intimate experience of this installation. Public benches have come to represent a community’s decision to constrain the use of a public amenity. They reflect larger societal values and fears. Many city benches now incorporate seat dividers designed to discourage people from sleeping or loitering on them. In Los Angeles, a city with a critical shortage of affordable housing, such benches abound. These do not address the core problem of housing, basic needs, and services for our fellow citizens. Those without a home need compassion, health, and support, not more constraints if our society is to thrive. Crown’s benches are intentionally designed without separators. It is an intimate personal act, knowing that we collectively need to ease the homelessness crisis in our country.

For Freedoms Congress will be hosted in Los Angeles in partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Japanese American National Museum, Hammer Museum, Crenshaw Dairy Mart, and other arts institutions around the city. FFCon will deliver an engaging series of artist-led programs and workshops that build upon Los Angeles’ historic role as the birthplace and driver of important artistic-lead cultural movements over the decades. Along with closed-door sessions with For Freedoms partners, the Congress will include 4 public Town Hall programs curated and co-hosted by SANKOFA, and a public day of programming on March 1 at the Hammer Museum.

Paula Crown’s past collaborations with For Freedoms include the installation of billboards in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Wyoming in 2018 as part of For Freedom’s 50 State Initiative, the solo exhibition I am FOR at Fort Gansevoort, New York, NY in 2018 and the group exhibition For Freedoms, curated by Hank Willis Thomas at Jack Shainman Gallery, NY in 2016.

Photography by Jacqueline Verdugo and Ural Garrett 

For Freedoms Billboards (2018), Wyoming, Chicago, LA


For Freedoms Billboards (2018)

Wyoming, Chicago, LA

Paula Crown x For Freedoms 50 State Initiative

This billboard-based piece, commissioned by For Freedoms as part of its 50 State Initiative, is both a confrontation and a call to action. The work, entitled Thoughts and Prayers, presents two firearms reflected in conflict under the flattened sentiment of a clichéd phrase. Crown confronts the viewer with a choice of action or indifference thereby urging citizens to “translate thoughts and prayers into policy.”

Thoughts and Prayers, sponsored by 21c Museum Hotel, was on view at 11 W Illinois St. Chicago, IL from September 27, 2018 through November 30, 2018 and Hurt People Hurt People, was on view in Los Angeles, CA, 2018.

Installation view Thoughts and PrayersChicago, IL, 2018

Installation view Thoughts and PrayersChicago, IL, 2018

Installation view Thoughts and Prayers,  Chicago, IL, 2018

Hurt People Hurt People, Los Angeles, CA, 2018

Installation view Hurt People Hurt People, Los Angeles, CA, 2018

JOKESTER (2018), Aspen, CO



Aspen, CO

“I was thinking about how I could emphasize this message of environmental responsibility. And then it became clear. I’ve got to really make this big. I’ve got to make something that normally feels benign impossible to ignore” – Paula Crown

JOKESTER is a large-scale sculpture series by Paula Crown. Originating from her installation work — SOLO TOGETHER — JOKESTER takes Crown’s solo cup sculptures and brings it to a monumental scale.

JOKESTER serves as a reminder of consumption, waste, pollution, and re-use. The work embodies Crown’s commitment to tying her artistic practice to concrete social change – specifically, the mounting climate crisis. The signature 10-foot red sculpture acts as a stop sign, encouraging individuals to pause and examine how we shape our world, how our world shapes us, and the marks we leave behind in transient moments.

“Single-use plastics and our insatiable appetite for natural resources continue to threaten our environment, and, frankly, our existence,” says the artist. Crown asks: ”What happens to all the plastic we use only once and toss? Who cleans it up? What are the permanent traces we leave behind?” drawing attention to our position as complicit consumers who have the power to change our legacy.

JOKESTER was installed in Upper Gondola Plaza at The Little Nell in Aspen in 2018. A second iteration of JOKESTER was later installed in the Miami Design District in the same year, where it lives today. In the summer of 2020, JOKESTER traveled to Sculpture Milwaukee Biennale, where it will be on view until the end of 2021.

JOKESTER, 2018 — Upper Gondola Plaza, The Little Nell — Aspen, CO

JOKESTER, 2018 — The Little Nell, Aspen, CO; Photo credit Jordan Curet and Aspen Snowmass.

JOKESTER, 2018 — Upper Gondola Plaza, The Little Nell — Aspen, CO

JOKESTER 2 (2018), Miami Design District, Miami, FL


JOKESTER 2 (2018)

Miami Design District, Miami, FL

“Our insatiable appetite for natural resources continues to threaten our environment and our existence. We must be engaged both individually and collectively in caring for the planet.” – Paula Crown

On Tuesday, December 4, DACRA will unveil JOKESTER 2, a monumental replica of a crushed red SOLO Cup by artist Paula Crown, in Miami’s Design District during Miami Art Week 2018. The site-specific artwork is the second large-scale sculpture in the SOLO TOGETHER series.  Its counterpart debuted earlier this year as a public art project in Aspen, Colorado, aimed at disrupting the bucolic scenery with a bold call-to-action to end single-use plastic waste. Crown’s JOKESTER 2 debut creates a pointed moment for reflection amidst the excitement and exuberance of Miami Art Week.

The signature 10-foot red sculpture acts as a “stop sign,” encouraging individuals to pause and examine how we shape our world, how our world shapes us, and the marks we leave behind in transient moments. “Single-use plastics and our insatiable appetite for natural resources continue to threaten our environment, and, frankly, our existence,” says the artist. Crown asks questions like, ”What happens to all the plastic we use only once and toss? Who cleans it up? What are the permanent traces we leave behind?” drawing attention to our position as complicit consumers who have the power to change our legacy.

As part of the project, Crown has partnered with The Surfrider Foundation to support its “Rise Above Plastics” campaign. The social-media-based campaign asks the public to take a photo with Jokester 2 and tag @paulacrown_art, #JOKESTER and #SOLOTOGETHER. For every photo shared on Instagram during the week of Art Basel (December 4-9), @surfridermiami will clean one pound (1lb) of plastic waste off Miami’s beaches.

From 2014 to 2016, Miami’s Design District was home to Crown’s Transposition: Over Many Miles, a public art installation involving Theaster Gates’ studio, Studio Gang Architects, and the Design Apprenticeship Program at the Arts Incubator at the University of Chicago. The 3,200-square-foot installation was an active site for community engagement brought alive with yoga, school visits, and performances by the New World Symphony and the Alma Dance Theater.  Crown’s new work represents her continued focus on environmental sustainability, civic engagement and responsibility, and the exploration of intangible forces that connect and define us. 

Jokester 2 will be one view at 95 NE 40th Street, Miami, FL 33137 starting on December 4, 2018.

December 4, 2020 – Ongoing 

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