Joe Scanlan is an artist whose work takes multiple forms, from sculpture and design to publications and fictional personae. Indeed, there is a willful subterfuge running through much of his work, as exemplified in works that address the political economy of site-specific labor (Massachusetts Wedding Bed); or co-scripting the life and work of a fictional artist in collaboration with professional actors (Donelle Woolford); or in the design and manufacture of portable architecture that can inhabit the body of a host museum (Thingstahtfall Pavilion). Scanlan is internationally renowned for the dark humor and conceptual rigor of his work. He is also a widely read, discussed, and translated writer for such venues as Artforum, frieze, and Parkett, social media forums such as Facebook, and his website, thingsthatfall.com. He has published five books in relation to his work: Object Lessons (Kunstmuseum aan Zee) 2013; Passing Through (K21, Düsseldorf) 2007; DIY (Imschoot Uitgevers, Ghent) 2003; Pay Dirt (IKON Gallery, Birmingham, England) 2002; and Joe Scanlan (Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany) 1996. Scanlan is also the holder of U.S. patent no. 6,488,732, which is a process of converting postconsumer waste into viable potting soil. His work is in the public collections of K21; Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; the Stedelijk Museum Voor Aktuele Kunst, Ghent; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Scanlan began teaching at Princeton in 2009, when he was appointed professor of art and director of the Program in Visual Arts. He holds a BFA in Sculpture from the Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio, and currently lives in New York with his wife, Diana Murphy, the executive editor and co-publisher of Metropolis Books.