Tim Hawkinson

Last updated
Tim Hawkinson
Education University of California, Los Angeles
Movement Contemporary Art
Spouse Patty Wickman
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship

Tim Hawkinson (born 1960) is an American artist who mostly works as a sculptor.



Hawkinson was born in San Francisco, California in 1960. [1] He received a BFA from San Jose State University in 1984, and a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1989. [2]


Hawkinson′s work is mostly sculptural, ranging in scale from minute to huge. His themes include his own body (although some of his work could be called self portraiture), music, and the passing of time, as well as his artistic engagement with material, technique, and process. Some of his pieces are mechanized (the mechanism usually fully on view), or involve sound.

Hawkinson is renowned for creating complex sculptural systems through surprisingly simple means. His installation “Überorgan”—a stadium-size, fully automated bagpipe—was pieced together from bits of electrical hardware and several miles of inflated plastic sheeting. [3] [4] Hawkinson’s fascination with music and notation can also be seen in “Pentecost,” a work in which the artist tuned cardboard tubes and assembled them in the shape of a giant tree. On this tree the artist placed twelve life-size robotic replicas of himself, and programmed them to beat out hymns at humorously irregular intervals. [5] The source of inspiration for many of Hawkinson’s pieces has been the re-imagining of his own body and what it means to make a self-portrait of this new or fictionalized body. [6] In 1997 the artist created an exacting, two-inch tall skeleton of a bird from his own fingernail parings, and later made a feather and egg from his own hair. [7] Believable even at a close distance, these works reveal Hawkinson’s attention to detail as well as his obsession with life, death, and the passage of time.


Hawkinson has exhibited at the Venice Biennale (1999), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, (2000), the Power Plant in Toronto, Canada (2000), [8] the Whitney Biennial (2002), [9] and the 2003 Corcoran Biennial in Washington, D.C. [10]

A 2009 exhibition of new works included sculptures crafted from eggshells and a life-sized motorcycle constructed out of feathers. It was on view from May 8 through July  4, 2009 at The Pace Gallery, New York. Wonzimer Gallery in Los Angeles exhibited Hawkinson in the 2020 show "The Shape of Life." [11]

Solo exhibitions

Permanent collections

His 2005 sculpture Bear is a part of the Stuart Collection of public art on the campus of the University of California San Diego.

Personal life

Hawkinson lives in Los Angeles with his wife, artist Patty Wickman. [17]

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  2. John Ackerman (2000). Unnatural Science: An Exhibition, Spring 2000 - Spring 2001, MASS MoCA. MASS MoCA Publications. ISBN   978-0-9700738-1-5.
  3. 1 2 Emerling, Susan (3 March 2007). "Artist Tim Hawkinson floats an idea at Getty" via LA Times.
  4. Kennedy, Randy (5 March 2007). "Tim Hawkinson - Getty Museum -Art". The New York Times.
  5. Kimmelman, Michael (11 February 2005). "Wonderment and Wackiness, With Gravitas". The New York Times.
  6. SNOW, SHAUNA (22 July 1990). "FACES : Tim Hawkinson--Manipulating Everyday Objects and Notions" via LA Times.
  7. https://hirshhorn.si.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Tim-Hawkinson-Brochure-Directions.pdf [ bare URL PDF ]
  8. Dailey, Meghan (May 2000). "Tim Hawkinson at The Power Plant". Artforum. 38 (9). Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  9. "Tim Hawkinson". whitney.org. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  10. O'Sullivan, Michael (December 27, 2002). "The Corcoran Biennial: Dramatic License". The Washington Post .
  11. "Artland - Art by Tim Hawkinson". www.artland.com. Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  12. "Tim Hawkinson on view February 11 – May 29, 2005 Emily Fisher Landau Galleries, Floor 4". Archived from the original on January 10, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2009.
  13. Tim Hawkinson—June 26–August 28, 2005 Archived July 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine . Lacma.org, retrieved February 20, 2011
  14. "X-TRA". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21.
  15. "Tim Hawkinson's Uberorgan (Visit the Getty)". www.getty.edu.
  16. "Tim Hawkinson: Mapping the Marvellous | Exhibitions | MCA Australia". www.mca.com.au. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  17. "'I Don't Want That Crap in My Gallery' | Commonweal Magazine". www.commonwealmagazine.org. Retrieved 2020-01-13.