Murray McMillan

Murray McMillan
Murray McMillan, M.F.A.Professor of Art

Contact Information

x3454mmcmillan@rwu.eduGHH 220

Areas of Expertise

Video and Film, Photography, Installation, Sculpture, Performance, Animation and Sound


M.F.A. University of Texas at Austin, B.F.A. Kansas City Art Institute

Murray McMillan’s work is a blend of video, installation, performance, sculpture and photography. He has collaborated with his partner Megan McMillan since 2002. The McMillan’s process starts with constructing a complex, architectural set in their studio or site-specifically on location. That set becomes the stage for a series of photographs and usually an accompanying short video consisting of choreographed actors who activate the movable set pieces for a documented performance. The photographs and video become the viewer’s window into a seemingly impossibly constructed situation which could only exist for a short time and in a specific place.

The people that they invite to perform in our work often, through their own life stories, drive their concepts. They select performers with rich histories and personal resources. They invite them to “be themselves in this space” and engage in behaviors and movements that they intimately understand: a group of friends at a dinner party, a married couple folding sheets, an art historian engaged in research or a cook in the kitchen making soup. These unchoreographed performers work side-by-side the performers who are choreographed. This second group acts as the “operators” within this system: moving lamps, constructing flowers, manipulating spotlights. This way, they hope the distinction between “real” performance and “staged” performance becomes slippery.

The McMillans have exhibited at MASS MoCA, the Casa Masaccio Center for Contemporary Art in San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy, the Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense, Denmark, the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece, the National Museum of Art in La Paz, Bolivia, the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA, the RISD Museum, the New Bedford Art Museum and the deCordova Museum.The McMillans have been artists in residence in Barcelona, Los Angeles, Athens, and Turku, Finland. Their work has been featured in film festivals in New York, London, Los Angeles, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Greece and Romania. Their work has been included in the deCordova Biennial, the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, and the 10th International Istanbul Biennial andwas featured in an internationally broadcast video art festival in a solo exhibition curated by Paolo Colombo during the Ikono On-Air Festival in Berlin. 

Art by Professor of Art Murray McMillan