Ann McCoy (2016)
Ann McCoy

McCoy received a Tree of Life Individual Artist Grant in 2016 for Sculpture of the Invisible College. 

McCoy is a New York based artist with a forty-two year career beginning in 1972. She is a painter, a sculptor, a published writer, and has a license in theater projection. She is primarily known for her large-scale drawings that may take several years to complete and her bronze sculptures. The images in her work come from dreams, a process known as incubation in the Greek world. She teaches at Yale in the School of Drama in a section called Visual Iconography.

Her work is included in the collections of many major American museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Des Moines Art Center, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, The Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Australia. McCoy’s grants and awards include The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Prix de Rome, The Berliner Kunstler Program D.A.A.D., and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Project Description

I have worked on studies in Alchemy since 1975. Recently I have been reading the full diaries of Hugo Ball, the founder of DADA. Ball got the idea for DADA by reading texts on mystical Christianity and the alchemy of Goethe. Alchemical texts were read and studied by artists such as Duchamp. This is what the theme "Invisible College" is based on, the unknown reading of texts. Many art historians leave out the reading of the artist if it does not fit their critical persuasion, Hugo Ball being a prime example.

I want to make a sculpture on the theme of the Invisible College, as a bronze processional, pulled by horses. Horses are a symbol par excellence of the unconscious. The Invisible College was a Rosicrucian idea from the 1600s. The Imaginary College was shown as a building on wheels that was moved from place to place. These buildings on wheels often resembled models of Byzantine churches that could be moved to represent a church when none was present. Worshipers entered the structure through the imagination, and it became a temenos—a sacred precinct. The imagination has always been the source of my art. I love making an object that represents a house for the imagination. It is like Borges Library of Babylon on wheels.

I worked with Prof. C.A. Meier, Jung’s heir apparent, for twenty-five years in Zurich. I studied alchemy for over thirty years, both in Rome at the Vatican and Corsini libraries, and in Zurich. This sculpture represents my invisible library of thought and imagination.