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Thaddeus Mosley

Thaddeus Mosley (b. 1926, New Castle, PA) is a Pittsburgh-based self-taught artist whose monumental sculptures are crafted with the felled trees of Pittsburgh’s urban canopy, via the city’s Forestry Division. Using only a mallet and chisel, Mosley reworks salvaged timber into biomorphic forms. With influences ranging from Isamu Noguchi to Constantin Brâncuși—and the Bamum, Dogon, Baoulé, Senufo, Dan, and Mossi works of his personal collection—Mosley’s sculptures mark an inflection point in the history of American abstraction. These “sculptural improvisations,” as he calls them, take cues from the modernist traditions of jazz. “The only way you can really achieve something is if you’re not working so much from a pattern. That’s also the essence of good jazz,” Mosley says of his method. Mosley had his first Karma solo exhibition in 2020, and was commissioned for the 2020 edition of Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center, New York.

His work has been exhibited and acquired by major museums and foundations since 1959, including the Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the occasion of the 57th Edition of the Carnegie International (2018). His work is held in public collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York, New York; and the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine.

Mosley’s work is currently on view in there is this We, a group installation organized by Sculpture Milwaukee. His solo show, Thaddeus Mosley: Forest, was recently displayed at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which will travel to Art + Practice, Los Angeles, and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas.

Single work, Thaddeus Mosley

Born 1926, New Castle, Pennsylvania
Lives and works in Pittsburgh

EDUCATION

1950

BA, English and Journalism, University of Pittsburgh

Selected Solo and Two-Person Exhibitions

2023

Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Forest

2022

70 Main Street, Maine, Thaddeus Mosley and Frank Walter: Sanctuary

Art + Practice, Los Angeles, Forest

2021

Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland, Forest

2020

Karma, New York

2014

CUE Art Foundation, New York

2011

Paul Mesaros Gallery, Morgantown, West Virginia

2010

August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, Sculptures by Thaddeus G. Mosley

2009

The Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, Thaddeus Mosley: Sculpture (Studio/Home)

2004

CUE Art Foundation, New York

2002

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Thaddeus Mosley

1997

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Recent Sculpture by Thaddeus Mosley

1995

Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh

1990

Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh

1979

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Artist of the Year

1968

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

Selected Group Exhibitions

2022

The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, Courage Before Expectation, curated by Keith Rivers

Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway, File Under Freedom

2021

Maximillian William, London, Embodying Anew
Grimm Gallery, Amsterdam, Romancing the Surface, curated by Loie Hollowell

2020

Friedman Benda, New York, Comfort, curated by Omar Sosa

2018

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Carnegie International
Featherstone Center for the Arts, Massachusetts, The Beautiful Difference

2017

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 20/20: The Studio Museum in Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art

2016

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, Society of Sculptors 80th Anniversary Annual Exhibition

2015

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Uncrated: The Hidden Lives of Artworks
University Art Gallery at the University of Pittsburgh, Exposure: Black Voices in the Arts

2010

African American Cultural Center of Greater Pittsburgh, Generations: Six African American Artists

2008

National Academy of Design, New York, 183rd Annual: Am Innovational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art

Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, In Search of Missing Masters: The Lewis Tanner Moore Collection of African American Art

2007

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Popular Salon of the People: Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annuals, 1910-2006

1975

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 66th Annual Exhibition of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh

1959

Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh

Selected Public Projects and Installations

2021

Harvard Business School, Boston

Sculpture Milwaukee, there is this We, curated by Theaster Gates and Michelle Grabner

Urban Redevelopment Authority, East Bond Plaza, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, EQT Plaza, Pittsburgh

2020

Frieze Sculpture, Rockefeller Center, New York, curated by Brett Littman

2006

Cities of Asylum, Pittsburgh, Winged House

Public Collections

Art Institute of Chicago
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Colby College Museum, Waterville, Maine
Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Pittsburgh
Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh

David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh

The August Wilson African American Center, Pittsburgh

Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Baltimore Museum of Art

Awards

American Academy of Arts and Letters Awards in Art
Governor’s Award for Artist of the Year, Pennsylvania Visual Arts
Cultural Award, Pittsburgh Center of the Arts
Service in the Arts Award, Pittsburgh Center of the Arts
2021 History Makers Award, Senator John Heinz History Center

Publications

2020

Thaddeus Mosley
Texts by Ingrid Schaffner, Sam Gilliam, Brett Littman, Jessica Bell Brown, Ed Roberson, Connie H. Choi, and an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist
Karma, New York
312 pages, hardcover
7 1/2 × 9 1/4 inches

1997

Thaddeus Mosley: African-American Sculptor
Narrative by David Lewis
University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh
86 pages, soft cover
8 × 10 inches

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