Wade Schaming: Texas Towers

Showtime Tower. Courtesy the artist.

Brooklyn-based artist Wade Schaming spent the month of August as an artist-in residence at the Museum of Human Achievement in Austin. The Museum of Human Achievement, also known as MOHA, is a multi-disciplinary arts space located in a warehouse (previously a sex toy factory) on the quickly changing east side of the city. During his time at MOHA, Schaming made and presented a series of found object sculptures using his own particular system of collection, arrangement, and ideological construction.


Shine Tower. Courtesy the artist.

Schaming chooses to arrive at his residencies without art making supplies; instead he uses only found objects from the space and surrounding area. In this regard MOHA was the perfect site, being a rambling and ever-changing experimental warehouse located in Canopy, a larger creative complex of galleries, studios, and fabrication spaces. Rife with unused and discarded items, the complex provided a wellspring of materials.

Schaming’s found objects are altered as little as possible- rarely cleaned and never physically changed from the state in which he finds them. Stacking and nestling are his primary tools instead of saws or hammers: no fasteners of any kind to be found. His sculptures are made up of collections of objects but once they are finished he considers each mass to be an autonomous sculpture in its own right, not fragments that make a whole but instead a complete and fixed object. They become ideologically attached with his decision to call a sculpture finished. This also relates to the importance of photography in the work- once a sculpture is photographed it can no longer be altered; it has cemented itself in the world. He calls them towers, relating to architecture and their overwhelmingly vertical appearance. Categorizing them as towers also changes the way that his sculptures orient themselves in the world, the same way that the arrangement of the work close to the wall shows the sculptures with a clearly delineated front and back.


Dolly Tower. Courtesy the artist.

Attending residencies has become integral to Schaming’s work since graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 2010. As an artist working in Brooklyn, space is at a premium and several years ago he decided that his sculpture making practice would be better suited to residencies than a traditional studio practice. This has opened up his ability to work larger and with a greater sensitivity to space. Using his experience in Austin and the specific objects that he chose at MOHA- church pews, a piano, wooden stairs, chairs, and chicken wire among many others- Schaming built a series of sculptures called “Texas Towers” as a responsive action to place.

To see more of Schaming’s work please visit wadeschaming.com.

By Gracelee Lawrence

Read more about Wade Shaming on re:sculpt.

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