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Jean Lowe


B. 1960

Painter and sculptor Jean Lowe is known for her installations, which often feature her enamel-painted papier-mâché of everyday objects, like books with witty and evocative titles that provoke social critiques of contemporary society. Take, for example, her sculptural book Just Ask God (A Common Language). Throughout the world, humans hope and wish for a “higher power” to bring them happiness, and one might imagine that many prayers may be for financial freedom, as the illustration on the book’s cover suggests. Lowe questions this act, and our values, through a satirical approach. As Lowe states, “Money is a language that everyone understands.”

Since the early 1990s, Lowe has focused on the high/low art dynamic and its contradictions. Early in her career, she turned to the craft medium of papier-mâché to create work that didn’t feel “elitest,” as she states. Lowe wanted to create work that was familiar and “welcoming” by elevating everyday objects and subverting the expectation of what an artwork is. As Lowe states, “It’s always been important to me to ground my work in a format that is somehow familiar. So it’s not, “oh this an artwork, this is royalty.” It’s like, “this is real-world familiar, and also an artwork.”” 

Jean Lowe earned a BA from UC Berkeley in 1983 and an MFA from UC San Diego in 1988. Lowe has received fellowships from the Western States Arts Federation/NEA and a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She was also awarded the CalArts Alpert/Ucross Residency Prize, the Alberta duPont Bonsal Foundation Art Prize, and the San Diego Art Prize. She served as a lecturer at UC San Diego from 1992 to 2008 and currently lives and works in Encinitas, CA.


Myrtle Beach’s Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum strives to be one of the finest visual arts museums in the Carolinas. With 11 galleries that change throughout the year, Myrtle Beach’s only art museum offers exhibitions featuring paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more. A visit to the Art Museum’s exhibitions can be enhanced by its lively programming, including artist receptions, tours, lectures, workshops and classes for both adults and children.