17 May 2016

This site is an index of the writing and works of art by the conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll. It is always under construction. Please check back on a regular basis as we update it frequently. The text continues below the image. Read on.




American Academy in Berlin, Alumni Evening in NYC
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
, 6 to 8 pm
Mary Ellen Carroll, Conceptual Artist in conversation with Yemane Demissie, Filmmaker
Goethe Institut — New York City

MoMA — Dialogues in the Archive: Artists Activate the Archive
Tod Lippy in conversation with Mary Ellen Carroll and Mary Lum
Thursday, June 22, 2023, 6 to 8 pm

The 2023 Molendinar Lecture, Debating Chambers, Glasgow City Council
Wednesday, 7 June 2023
6 pm

Photo of Mary Ellen Carroll by Daniele Molajoli courtesy of the American Academy in Rome.

Mary Ellen Carroll/MEC, studios has been invited by the City of Glasgow to give the 2023 Molendinar Lecture on Glasgow and pathmarking opportunities from the Mediaeval to the present concerning climate and migration in the built environment and as the work of art.


December 15, 2022

RSVP is a new program that Mary Ellen Carroll / MEC, studios and DYKWTCA developed in partnership with Terra Firma and with additional support in development by Suchi Reddy/Reddymade Design and Jessica Marshall, PhD that introduces the arts to recently arrived unaccompanied immigrant children seeking humanitarian protection as an acculturation path-marking experience in New York City. These unaccompanied immigrant children (UIC’s) range in average age from 12 to 17 and embarked on unthinkably perilous journeys.

Aligning with leading cultural institutions, organizations, artists, and businesses throughout New York City—RSVP introduces how the arts are foundational to all New Yorkers in making it their home, and most importantly for recently arrived unaccompanied immigrant children.

For RSVP’s pilot program, participants experience the arts through a combination of weekly field visits throughout the city that are complimented by hands-on workshops where the participants engage in exercises to map (using a variety of materials and mediums that include: videos/photos/drawings/ writing/music) and reflect on what they did, what they want to do, and who they want to be in their new home — New York City. Areas of the arts include: Art, Architecture, Music, Film, Writing, and Performance/Theater. Examples of the partnering organizations for the field visits include: Diller, Scofidio + Renfro / Architecture, National Sawdust / Music, and Times Square Arts/Performance and Theater, etc. A key component of the field visits is that the children engage in related activities of ‘making and doing’ while at these sites of cultural production. Mapping exercises incorporate the places and activities that the youth identify as making New York City a home for them, as well as becoming a guide to ‘their NYC’.

RSVP is funded in part by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund through the foundation’s Arts & Mental Health initiative. 

October 28, 2022 December 10, 2022


Vernissage, Friday, October 28th from 6 to 9 pm
Wrong Door a performance by Rupert Huber live

FM by Mary Ellen Carroll / MEC, studios

Mary Ellen Carroll, est/ovest (east/west) sotto/sopra (under/over), 2022

Galerie Hubert Winter is pleased to announce the sixth exhibition at the gallery by the New York based conceptual artist/activist Mary Ellen Carroll—THEIR TABLE IS TOO LONG (IL LORO TAVOLO È TROPPO LUNGO). All of the works on view were produced in 2022 in Rome, where Carroll was the 2022 Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Carroll conducted research and executed new works to expand existing series that are anchored in seeing things as they are, and the ‘ethically imagined’ as framed by a frequent interlocutor with Carroll, the Kenyan writer Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. The political/social compete equivalently with the ongoing work in the unsuspecting materials of infrastructure, technology, climate, and migration.

For over three decades Carroll has been investigating a single, fundamental philosophical question: what do we consider a work of art? Moving deftly among large-scale architectural interventions, experimental film, staged events, sculpture, photography, and book projects—Carroll imbues all her work with a strong performative element. The work interrogates the relationship between subjectivity, language, and power. The notion of representation and identification has always been at the core of Carroll’s œuvre as well as her dedication to a political and social critique that is consciously developed without a signature style.

June 9, 2022
the shoes (XL) A performance in collaboration between the Berlin based composer Laurie Schwartz and
Mary Ellen Carroll / MEC, studios at the American Academy in Rome @ 8 pm. Featuring: Chiara Hervatin | Maria Mantegazza Emilio Fantin | Ninetto Davoli Elisabetta Ventura | Tullio De Piscopo Anna Clementi (voice in audio playback) And, a special guest. A composition for amplified vocalist/performer, audio playback, radio announcer, and tap dancer. The text is from La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well (1891) by Pellegrino Artusi, who is considered to be the Homer of Italian gastronomy and following is the English translation of the text being performed.

January 15, 2022
Mary Ellen Carroll in conversation with Kevin Jones from Alskerkal Avenue for EXPO2022 in Dubai for ‘A Cloud is Nobody’s (Part II) to discuss the work of art as infrastructure. An new video work by Mike Kwok will open the programme.

October 30, 2021 — From the PRESS RELEASE from October 30, 2021 —Ongoing

indestructible language — Monumental Red Neon Artwork to Illuminate the Glasgow Skyline During 2021 United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow for COP26 the large scale neon work that reads: IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK to be installed and actions for the accompanying policy on climate and migration.

The installation indestructible language at the Schoolhouse, Glasgow © 2021 Mary Ellen Carroll / MEC, studios
with drone photography by Dougie Lindsay

The monumental neon artwork, indestructible language, by New York-based conceptual artist and activist Mary Ellen Carroll/MEC studios will launch at 7pm (GMT + 1) on Saturday, October 30, on the eve of UN Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26)

indestructible language consists of three meter high illuminated red neon characters made of lead-free glass, powered 100% by renewable energy, spelling out the phrase: IT IS GREEN THINKS NATURE EVEN IN THE DARK. The artwork is situated on the roof of The Schoolhouse, an historic Victorian building in the centre of Glasgow, visible from COP 26 and the M8, the busiest motorway in Scotland, where it will be seen by millions both locally and virtually. The installation – that also acts as a beacon – uses language to highlight the multiple meanings and areas of concern around the climate emergency, challenging viewers to respond to the work, to reflect on its many readings alongside their own actions around climate change. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021 @ 7 pm (GMT+1) by invitation
indestructible language will be installed on:
The School House, 101 Portman St, Kinning Park, Glasgow G41 1EJ, UK

indestructible language is supported by Kind World FoundationLove, Tito’s,MCMStardustTransArt FoundationTurtle ConservancyUrban Office and Urban Office and private donors including, M. Asselin / J. Meltzer and Melanie Shorin / Greg Feldman, and others who are committed to climate action.

Media Contacts (interviews and other media requests):
Sarah Greenberg, Evergreen Arts,, +44 (0)7866543242
Kate Burvill, KBPR,, +44 (0)7947754717
The entire Press Release is here: indestructible language)

Instagram / Twitter: @mecstudios    #indestructiblelanguage 

SUD/NORTE, 2020/2021, 60 x 48 x 1.5 inches, silver leaf and bitumen in water-based medium on linen on airline blanket. Photo by Hatnim Lee.

September 17 – 19, 2021 Galerie Hubert Winter will present works by Mary Ellen Carroll in Milan in Premio Fidenza Generations at MIART with the work of Jojo Gronostay.

May 5th and 12th, 2021— Mary Ellen Carroll was guest critic at Harvard in the Graduate School of Design for the Forms of Assembly final semester reviews and the final thesis reviews for the Master in Design Studies (MDes) Program.

April 23, 2021The Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize for 2020/2021 has been awarded to Mary Ellen Carroll / MEC, studios. The time in Rome will be utilized to work on two bodies of work, both of which make use of the non-visible for PUBBLICA UTILITÀ DUE and Via Longara —radio frequency and the unconscious and mental health. Public seminars will be a part of the work that will be realized when in Rome.

April 22, 2021— “Alter-Realities: Intervening in the Politics of Immigrant Incarceration and Migration Control” / “Alter-realidades: Interviniendo en la política de control y detención de inmigrantes” is a discussion between artists and collaborators about the process of representing immigrant detention and immigration control through art and cultural interventions. Mary Ellen Carroll and Lucas Michael will discuss the call to action DYKWTCA.

April 14, 2021— Lecture at Harvard in the Graduate School of Design in the Art, Design, and Public Domain program and Professor Malkit Shoshan.

Read on.


December 4, 2020 —Presentation at THE WIRED CITY: Technology is shaping our future. for the 2020 Visions: Next City Conference Mary Ellen Carroll presentation was A Cloud is Nobody’s on the real estate and equitable use of radio frequency and the ongoing work PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0. The other presenters were: Anthony Shannon, most recently co-founded MUVE, along with a team of expert technologists, designers and builders and Rohit (Rit) Aggarwala, is currently the head of Urban Systems at Sidewalk Labs in addition to his post at Columbia University as Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs.

March 26, 2020(NOT) OF PUBLIC INTEREST —lecture at Kungl. Konsthögskolan/Royal Institute of Art and the Public Art Agency Sweden for Jonas Dahlberg’s course OF PUBLIC INTEREST

January 15, 2020Over 100 Artists Contribute to Benefit Exhibition Foregrounding the Experiences of Detained Children” for Hyperallergic’s “News” by Valentina Di Lischia on DYKWTCA (Do you know where the children are?) a call to action and exhibition of 100+ unique works of art by 100+ leading visual artists that is organized by the artists and activists Mary Ellen Carroll and Lucas Michael. Each work incorporates, or represents an actual account (in whole or in part) from a child who was separated from their family and detained by the U.S. government. The works of art will travel across the US until after the 2021 election, and the works will be offered for $500 each and the full proceeds donated to immigrant advocacy groups.


Fall 2019A Conversation with Mary Ellen Carroll by David Joselit” for October No. 170 | Fall 2019 p.120-145 A wide-ranging and definitive interview with conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll, who is best known for works that transpose land art to urban contexts and to questions of public policy such as zoning and access to free Internet service. Carroll describes her practice in terms of “making architecture perform,” which she does through direct interventions in city streets, such as her rotation of a suburban house in prototype 180 (1999–ongoing) so that it’s back façade was turned to the street, while it’s front faced a public park at the back of the lot, or in Public Utility 2.0 (2015), which sought to provide broadband wireless through unused radio frequencies, otherwise known as Super Wi-Fi, to underserved communities, largely of color, in New Orleans. Carroll is a leading voice at the intersection of urban theory, public policy, and media art, and in this interview, she articulates the several complex layers of her most significant projects to date.

October 8, 2019DEAR WORLD” is the ‘official’ account for Artforum’s “Diary” of the 2019 #ClimateStrikeNYC, the UN Youth Climate Summit, the UN Climate Action Summit, and the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly. The much longer and unedited version is available with more exciting photos at Notetakers from the Situation Room.

September 8 — November 3, 2019 Stranger Approaching is a group exhibition organized by Erin Leland at the Bridget Donahue Gallery. “In the belief that language emerges from lived experience, Stranger Approaching addresses writing through performance.” It will feature performance works from Mary Ellen Carroll’s series MY DEATH IS PENDING… BECAUSE. The works of art that will be featured are LATE (2005) and No. 9 (2017) and will include photographs, drawings, video and other process related works from both series.

February 27, 2019—ARCHITECTS—The Journal of the American Institute of Architects an article by Eva Hagberg featuring Mary Ellen Carroll’s ongoing work and with the ACLU and refugees at the Mexico/Texas border to map the asylum process and immigration policy.

January 1, 2019—Mary Ellen Carroll’s LATE was included in Tod Lippy’s (the Executive Director of the Esopus Foundation and the founder of Esopus Magazine) Top Ten List in the January 2019 issue of ARTFORUM.

Keep on reading on.


On Saturday, November 11, 2017 conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll realized “Daringly Unbuilt” at prototype 180. This work marks the culmination of that 18 year project and final performance that Carroll started in 1999 — utilizing policy as a material to make architecture perform. The Guardian did a feature on the performance.


October 1, 2018—OCTOBER  No. 165, Summer 2018 – A Questionnaire on Monuments: 49 Responses  included Mary Ellen Carroll’s proposal for Prospect.3 in New Orleans and the lampooning of the statue of General Lee.

September 6, 2018—Modes of Mapping, curated by Lisa Panzera at the Shirley Fiterman Art Center at CUNY-BMCC  included Mary Ellen Carroll’s PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0.

August 24, 2018—One Meter Above Ground – Climate and Territory Viewed from the Perspective of the République Géniale at Kunstmuseum Bern, August 23-25, 2018, during République Géniale, August 17 – November 11, 2018.

Mary Ellen Carroll’sThe Difficulty with a Tree. This was a radio broadcast for RADIO FREE BERN— 88 FM.

June 27, 2018— Mary Ellen Carroll’s  Critics’ Pick on the Norwegian Siri Aurdal’s exhibition at the Malmö Konsthall was published by Artforum.

May 7, 2018—The Storefront for Art and Architecture honored conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll at their annual benefit LIT — in the Celeste Bartos Forum in the New York Public Library.

May 1 to August 1, 2018—The Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s Award for Visual and Applied Artists–IASPIS was awarded to New York conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll in 2018.

January 10, 2018—NYU’s Fales Library and Collection acquires five works of art by Mary Ellen Carroll.


Mary Ellen Carroll’s (MEC, studios) prolific career as a conceptual artist spans more than twenty years and primarily occupies the disciplines of architecture/design and public policy, writing, performance and film. The foundation of the practice is the investigation of a single, fundamental question: what do we consider a work of art? Carroll frequently works with unsuspecting materials that range from public policy and land use to unused television frequencies as a form of 21st century land art, albeit the valuable and non-visible real estate of radio frequency. She is the recipient of numerous grants and honors, including the Berlin Prize at the American Academy in Berlin for 2016, a Graham Foundation Fellowship for prototype 180 and the AIA’s Artist of the Year Award. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pollack/Krasner Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Carroll was also awarded a Pennies From Heaven Award for her contribution to New York City for work that contributes to the cultural realm and is socially visionary. Her work has been exhibited at numerous American and international institutions and galleries, including the Whitney Museum-New York, Generali Foundation-Vienna, Austria, Jacobs Museum-Zurich, Switzerland, ICA Philadelphia, the Renaissance Society-Chicago, ICA-London, Museum für Völkerkunde-Munich, MOMUK-Vienna. Her work belongs in numerous public and private collections.

Teaching, lecturing and public presentations are an important part of Carroll’s work and educational institutions have included architecture and public policy programs at Rice University in Houston, Columbia University in New York, University of California at Irvine, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea amongst others. Cultural institutions have included: The DIA Art Foundation-New York, MOMA-New York, Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, Alserkal Avenue-Dubai, Busan Museum of Modern Art-South Korea and many others.

Carroll’s ongoing opus prototype 180 is a conceptual work of art and urban alteration that entails a radical form of renovation through the physical revolution and reoccupation of a single family house in the aging, first ring subdivision of Sharpstown in Houston, Texas. In conception and planning for over 10 years, the project is temporally, physically, and structurally organized around its catalytic rotational transformation. While the rotation and relocation of the house on its lot interrupt the relation of the house to its context and to existing street typologies they also signal the altered life of the house as a space devoted to a program that will address the issue of aging neighborhoods and their potential futures. prototype 180 strategically intersects conceptual art projects, social activism, urban legislation and economic processes. Its 180 degree revolution registers aesthetically against a history of critical house alterations and administratively in relation to Houston’s unregulated land use policies and its absence of zoning. It has been exhibited at Columbia University’s GSAPP, Galerie Stadtpark, Krems, Austria and the Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria. (

A monograph of her work published by SteidlMACK (London and Gottingen) received the AIGA’s 2010 Book of the Year Award. In 2016, Carroll had a new commission for the Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art and the first biennial for Ningxia province in China, that was under the artistic direction of Bose Krishnamachari. Carroll realized two works, A Fake Hare Has 24 Gold Teeth and Next Time with Jacky. She realized, No. 18 an architectural insertion and rooftop gardens as a commission for the Busan Biennial in Korea that was directed by Roger Buergel who was the artistic director for Documenta 12 that is still ongoing. Her work was included in the American Pavilion for the Venice Biennale for 2014 for Architecture. Public Utility 2.0 ( was a commission for the triennial Prospect.3 New Orleans that was under the artistic direction of Franklin Sirmans and utilizes unused television frequencies as a material as a 21st century form of land art. She was commissioned to realize Open Outcry and Ground Control that were both included in the exhibition FEAST at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the Blaffer Museum at the University of Houston. She recently lectured at Columbia University’s GSAPP for the symposium EX-SITU and previously at the DIA Foundation in NYC on the artist Fred Sandback as well as the exhibition/symposium, The Legal Medium at Yale Law School in the use of law as a medium. Recent commissions include Alserkal Avenue in Dubai UAE and Yinchuan Biennial in China. Carroll is represented by Galerie Hubert Winter in Vienna, Austria.