Steve Linn was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois with a BS in agriculture in 1965. As a sculptor, he worked primarily in wood and bronze until the early 1980s, when he added glass to his repertoire. He told the Los Angeles Times in 1992: “I like the danger, the possibility of risk glass poses. It challenges you.” Since 1993, he has maintained a studio in Claret, France. His work has been exhibited around the United States since 1969 and internationally since 1994, and was featured in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.” He has taught at Smith College in Massachusetts; University of California, Santa Cruz; Pratt Institute in New York; and Centre European Recherche & Formation Arts du Verre in France.
“I Dreamt I was a Model for George Segal”
I haven’t done a self-portrait in almost twenty years. When thinking about it, however, I did not want to do a piece specifically about me, so I put it in the context of posing for one of my earliest art heroes.
In the 1960’s when I was in college at the University of Illinois George Segal came and gave a lecture which made an enormous impression on me. At the time although I was a student in the Agriculture school, my interests were in theatre design and sculpture.
During the talk I vividly remember a slide of a guy hanging letters on a marquee at a movie theatre, this sculpture “Cinema” from 1963 was a revelation because it bridged the gap, at least for me, between my two interests. From that time on my two biggest contemporary sculptural influences were Segal and Ed Keinholz. I went on to work in the theatre and television for the next ten years as a designer, master carpenter, and prop builder in order to earn money to continue to make sculpture.
My guide, as a young man, the stage set designer Robin Wagner who took me under his wing as his first assistant in 1965, gave me a very sage piece of advice. He said that the theatre was a group sport involving producers, directors, actors, and fellow designers (lighting and costumes) and that one had to bend their ideas as a set designer to mesh with everyone in order to make a production work. I was always a hard head trying to assert my ideas and not being very willing to compromise. For that reason he advised me to stick to sculpture where I had full control. I am forever grateful.
We skip now to 1975, I am in Rome as a recipient of the Prix de Rome in sculpture. I get a call from the cultural attaché at the American Embassy. Would I be so kind as to accompany George Segal for a number of days while he worked on a series of “blue jean prints” My task was to help navigate Rome and to aid with the language. This was very exciting and definitely one of my fond memories. We do not often get to spend time with our heroes.
For the next twenty five years Segal continued to make his full body and bas-relief plaster bandage wrapped figurative sculptures often adding real objects to complete the scene. He passed away in 2000.”
SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Albany Museum of Art, Albany, GA
Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
City of Pasadena, CA
Commune de Hauterives, France
Ile-Ife Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN
Long Beach Art Museum, Long Beach, CA
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, FL
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland
Museum of American Glass, Millville, NJ
Museum of Art and History, Anchorage, AK
National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY
National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA
New York City Fire Museum, New York, NY
Verrerie Ouvrière d’Albi, Albi, France