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Tristin Lowe

b. 1966, Boston, MA; lives and works Philadelphia, PA

Tristin Lowe is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice delves into the crude and rude, absurd and abject, pushing low-brow, low-tech methods and materials toward unexpected ends. The artist makes drawings from grease paint and fire, uses edible materials such as butter, chocolate and alcohol to make hilarious and sad installations (beds that wet themselves, pillows that smoke), and handcrafts exquisite reproductions of both animate and inanimate objects (an upended trashcan sewn from felt, a mangy, fake-fur fox, a two-story folding chair). Lowe's wry re-imaginings lead the viewer down a path littered with chaos, comedy, and failure.


Lowe received his BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and studied at Parsons School of Design and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has exhibited his work extensively in Philadelphia at venues includng the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Vox  Populi, Girard College, the Rosenbach Museum and Library, the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, Basekamp, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Project Room, Abington Art Center, and Nexus Foundation for Today's Art, among others. He has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Telfair Museum, Savannah, GA; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Wheaton Arts, Millville, NJ; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland; New Langton Arts, San Francisco; University  of California, San Diego; Hudson D. Walker Gallery, Provincetown, RI;  Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; and the Centre d'Art  Contemporain, Switzerland, among others. He has been awarded a Smithsonian Research Fellowship; Pew Fellowship, Provincetown Fine Art Work Center Fellowship, and the Fabric Workshop and Museum and Girard College Residencies.  Lowe's work is in collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts , the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the West Collection. 


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Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick

Tristin Lowe

Curated by Rachel Reese

Telfair Museums, Jepson Center
Savannah, GA
Oct 11–Feb 16, 2019




A Whale of an Exhibition Connect Savannah


Taking the Deep Dive:Telfair Museums Presents ‘Summon the Sea! Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick’ Do Savannah

Nov 01, 2019

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Tristin Lowe on absurdity, the Big Bang, ‘Tiny Bangs,’ blue jeans, and more

Matt Singer speaks to Tristin Lowe in The Artblog.

May 29, 2019

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From whale to waves

Edith Newhall on Tiny Bangs in The Philadelphia Inquirer

Tristin Lowe

Apr 27, 2019

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Group show including Tristin Lowe, curated by Julie Courtney

WheatonArts, The Museum of American Glass
Millville, NJ
Apr 2–Dec 31, 2019

Apr 01, 2019

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Tristin Lowe: Under the Influence

University of Michigan Museum of Art
Ann Arbor, MI
Oct 6, 2018–Jan 13, 2019

Oct 06, 2018

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Tristin Lowe: Maelstrom Analytica

Mount Airy Contemporary at Intuitive Art Space

4236 Main Street, Philadelphia PA 19127 

Apr 18–Jun 27, 2018

Apr 18, 2018

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Tristin Lowe: Shooting Star

The dedication of Tristin Lowe's new public artwork, Shooting Star, will take place at the SWAT/Bomb Disposal/K-9 Headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia. The 32-foot long sculpture was a commission of Philadelphia's Office of Arts and Culture as part of the Percent for Art program.


Monday March 23, 2015 at 3PM
8501 State Road

Philadelphia, PA 19136

Mar 22, 2015

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Tristin Lowe's "Dumbo" on view in New York

Tristin Lowe's 2001 piece, Dumbo, was in residence at Milk Studios during Made Fashion week to promote the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation's new initiative to raise awareness about the killing of African Elephants for ivory.

Sep 10, 2014

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Elephant in the Room, The New York Times

Tristin Lowe’s “Dumbo” in New York

Sep 05, 2014


Tristin Lowe at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Provocative, mysterious, and altogether otherworldly, Under the Influence features two interconnected works by Philadelphia artist Tristin Lowe--Lunacy, a giant rendering of the moon created in felt, and Visither I, a neon light sculpture.

Under the Influence will be on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from October 22 through January 29, 2012.

Oct 19, 2011

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Tristin Lowe at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Gallery artist Tristin Lowe will be exhibiting Mocha Dick at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA.

Tristin Lowe: Mocha Dick
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
21st Century Gallery
200 N. Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23220
July 23 - November 27, 2011

Tristin Lowe’s colossal sculpture Mocha Dick is a fifty-two-feet-long recreation of the real-life albino sperm whale that terrorized early 19th-century whaling vessels near Mocha Island in the South Pacific. Mocha Dick, described in appearance as “white as wool,” engaged in battle with numerous whaling expeditions and inspired Herman Melville’s epic Moby-Dick (1851). Lowe worked with the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia to make the sculpture: a large-scale vinyl inflatable understructure sheathed in white industrial felt.

Tristin Lowe: Mocha Dick is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and curated by John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. The sculpture is on loan courtesy of the West Collection, Philadelphia and was created in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.

Jun 22, 2011

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Tristin Lowe at the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Gallery artist Tristin Lowe is included in:

Close at Hand: Philadelphia Artists from the Permanent Collection
Fabric Workshop and Museum
June 3 - late summer 2011

Tristin Lowe will be exhibiting Alice, 1998, the 19.5-foot bright-blue girl, made of inflatable, vinyl-coated fabric, who will be wearing a new "Alice in Wonderland" inspired dress embroidered with images of psychotropic mushrooms.

Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Jun 22, 2011

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Tristin Lowe at John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Tristin Lowe's sculpture Mocha Dick, a 52 foot long whale made of felt, will be on view at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin through May 15.

John Michael Kohler Arts Center
608 New York Avenue
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Mar 19, 2011

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Tristin Lowe at the American Academy of Arts and Letters

Tristin Lowe's installation Under the Influence: Lunacy and Visither 1, commissioned by the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, will be on view at the annual Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts and Letters through April 10.

American Academy of Arts & Letters

633 West 155th Street

New York, NY

Mar 18, 2011

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Tristin Lowe, Exhibition of New Work at the Rhode Island School of Design

The moon, Earth's only satellite, has been a source of mystery and wonder since the beginning of history. Scientists have studied the moon's physical characteristics for millennia, and artists and writers have been inspired by its powerful presence. Using low-tech (but labor-intensive) methods and material, sculptor Tristin Lowe (American, b. 1966) has created a moon to fill the Museum's lower Farago Gallery by covering an inflatable sphere, twelve-and-a-half feet in diameter, in white felt. "This sculpture, entitled Lunacy, is both surprising and contemplative" explains Judith Tannenbaum, the Museum's Richard Brown Baker Curator of Contemporary Art. "This piece is a reflection of his longtime fascination with science related to the moon and the cosmos, and at the same time is an astonishing feat of craftsmanship." A fabric with ancient origins, felt absorbs energy, light, and sound. The surface of Lunacy is composed of fourteen felt sections hand-worked and sewn together. A myriad of raised craters and rings approximate the moon's terrain rather than replicating its actual geological features.

May 26, 2010

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Mocha Dick In the Invisible World reviewed in Philadelphia Inquirer

Dynamic duo

by Edith Newhall

"Few artworks in Philadelphia can inspire the jaw-dropping awe that Tristin Lowe's single, gigantic felt replica of a whale, Mocha Dick, at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, does (and will do all summer). By contrast, the two-person show Lowe is sharing with Paul Swenbeck at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery has the feeling of a collaboration, of two friends playing off each other's whims." [...]

Read the rest of the article here

May 26, 2009

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Mocha Dick reviewed in Philadelphia Inquirer

Fabric Workshop features Philly artist

By Edward Sozanski

"[...] Tristin Lowe's contribution, a monumental sculpture, is a piece that would normally dominate such a group show; perhaps it does if one sees it last. It's not only enormous, but improbable - a life-scale, 52-foot-long sperm whale, Mocha Dick, executed in ivory-colored industrial felt stretched over an inflatable vinyl armature. [...]"

Read the rest of the article here

May 18, 2009

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Tristin Lowe at The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Tristin Lowe will be unveiling his newest work-a 52 foot long sculpture of a sperm whale at the Fabric Workshop and Museum’s newly renovated galleries. The exhibition which runs from April 27 through the end of the summer also includes work by Virgil Marti, Peter Rose and Ryan Trecartin.

Inspired by Mocha Dick, the notorious male sperm whale that lived in the Pacific Ocean in the early 19th Century and which was the model for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Lowe has created his version of the iconic leviathan out of felt. The piece was made in conjunction with the Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Apr 07, 2009

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Dumbo Lowe

Tristin Lowe's Dumbo, created for the Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2001, is currently on view in the storefront window of the Workshop's interim space at 1222 Arch Street in Philadelphia. The next window is papered with Virgil Marti's blacklight bullies wallpaper, formerly the famous interior of the Workshop's gents bathroom. There for the forseeable future, do check it out.

Feb 13, 2007

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Tristin Lowe: Socked Up

Fleisher/Ollman Gallery is pleased to invite you to Thursday's opening of "Socked Up," new work from Tristin Lowe, 6-8pm in the Gallery, with all the usual trimmings.

"Socked Up" is Lowe's first commercial gallery exhibition after over a decade of projects at such storied institutions as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, the ICA Philadelphia and The Royal Hibernian Academy. The installation includes over 50 new works: sculpture from intimate to large scale, and inflatable, 2D drawing studies, completed works and photographs, felt collages and a shocking homunculus.

As ambitious a show as we have mounted at our new space, these ruminations on sex, space, safety and middle age should prove a highlight of the season.

Oct 03, 2006

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Tristin Lowe/Richard Harrod: Blohard Gallery

Eileen Neff in ArtForum

Tristin Lowe

Mar 01, 2000

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