Visual Arts Past Faculty

James Seawright

James Seawright headshot

Photo by John Jameson


James Seawright (1936-2022) was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and for many years served as Director of Visual Arts at Princeton University and as a Professor of Visual Arts. He retired in 2009.

Recognized as one of the foremost technological artists since the late 1960s, his works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim Museum of New York, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, the New Jersey State Museum at Trenton, and other museums throughout the world.

Seawright received several commissions during his career including a large two-wall mirror sculpture at the Boston International Airport and an interactive light and sound sculpture at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. He received numerous awards including an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Most recently his work “Searcher” was included in the exhibition Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art 1965-2018 at the Whitney Museum from September 2018 to April 2019. Three additional works, “Twins", “Gemini” and “Lyra” were part of the exhibition Uncharted: American Abstraction in the information Age at the Hofstra University
Art Museum from January to June 2020.

Seawright married Mimi Garrard in 1960. The two artists collaborated throughout their careers, receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters in Jackson and numerous awards for their virtual sculptures. Their group show, Mutual Muses, was shown recently at the Clara Eagle Gallery at Murray State University in Kentucky and at the Ewing Galley of Art and Architecture at the University of Tennessee.

On February 12, 2022, Seawright died of complications from Parkinson’s disease.


Read James Seawright’s obituary — “James Seawright, kinetic sculptor and ‘godfather of the creative arts at Princeton,’ dies at 85” | Princeton University news, March 1, 2022