Joan Bankemper received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Upon moving to NYC she radically challenged her academic training to site specific installations using vegetation and the community as her primary medium; her ‘social practice’ was fully incorporated in her art making. Bankemper has shown with Creative Time, Inc., NY; The New Museum, NY; Artpace, San Antonio, TX; The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA; and Wave Hill, Riverdale, NY. Bankemper received grants from The George Sugarman Foundation and the NEA. The McColl Center of Visual Arts awarded her the Gabi Award.
Bankemper’s videos and videograms have been exhibited at Leo Castelli Gallery NY; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Detroit Institute of the Arts; The Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan; Marianne Boesky Gallery, NY and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC.
Out of her ‘social practice’, Bankemper makes ceramic ‘artifacts’. Initially the ceramic urns were produced for the Brent Sikkema Gallery, then Wooster Gardens, in response to the many friends who died of aids. Each pot was made of broken dishes and filled with medicinal plants. In one of her signature series, she only used discarded teacup handles and coffee mugs. Her new ceramic work utilizes high-fired handmade porcelain buttons attached to canvases, incorporating such so-called prosaic skills as sewing while also addressing the issue of how things get held together.
In 2008, Bankemper founded the Black Meadow Barn, a 150-year-old farm located in the Hudson Valley, N.Y. The Barn is a place where ‘horticulture and culture meet’; sustainable farming is both practical and practiced. She continues to cultivate gardens, ceramics and ‘conversations’ at the Black Meadow Barn often including visual artists, farmers and culinary experts.
Bankemper has exhibited environments and aspects of her social practice with Amy Lipton Fine Arts. Her objects have been exhibited with Nancy Hoffman Gallery and are included in numerous private collections. She lives and works in both New York City and Warwick, New York.