John Richardson

John Richardson earned his graduate degrees in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his undergraduate degree from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. He currently teaches at Wayne State University in Detroit where he is the Chair of the department. He has also served the department in the roles of sculpture area coordinator, Interim Chair, Associate Chair, and Graduate Officer. Prior to teaching at Wayne State, he taught at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Through his sculpture, Richardson investigates a notion of mind/body duality where a created object begins as an extension of the maker and then emerges as a separate entity that may or may not be interdependent. He works in a variety of media including cast and welded metals, rubber, glass, wood, plastic, and stone. Recently, his drawings and prints have been recognized and exhibited as well. His award winning work is held in numerous private and public collections, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Legacy Art Park (Ontonagon, 2002); Xiadu Park, Yanqing, China (Anastomatic Lines, 2001); the Open Air Museum of Steel Sculpture, Coalbrookdale, England (Articulated Lapse, 2003) and the Lumsden School, Lumsden, Scotland (Time Boundary, 2004). He is represented by Causey Contemporary (

In addition to creating art, Richardson makes frequent contributions to the arts as a juror, scholar, and lecturer. He has been a member of the College Art Association (CAA) since 1995, became a member of the CAA Board of Directors in 2013, served on its Professional Practices Committee (2012-2015), and on its Annual Conference Committee (2013-2016). He served as the CAA Vice President for External Affairs in 2015-2016.

He has participated in the Mid-America College Art Association since 2002, joining the board in 2004, serving as president from 2008-2012, and served as past-president from 2012-2016. He is also a member of the National Council of Arts Administrators, the Southeastern College Art Conference, and the International Sculpture Center.

At Wayne State, Richardson teaches a variety of sculpture courses and in the past has also taught three-dimensional design as well as an interdisciplinary graduate art seminar. In addition to formal courses, he offers a weekend iron-casting workshop once a semester that is open to students, alumni, and visiting artists.

Artist Statement

The name “junk art” was first coined by British art critic/curator, Lawrence Alloway, in 1961, to describe art made from scrap metal, broken-up machinery, cloth rags, timber, waste paper and other “found material.” Traceable to early 20th century artists such as Picasso, Duchamp and Schwitters, it has its analogies in Dada, particularly the work of Alberto Burri and with later Arte Povera artists such as Antoni Tapies. John J. Richardson, like these artists, begins his work with industrial detritus, found industrial shapes and the repetitive patterns from the urban industrial landscape. John, who lives and works in Detroit, Michigan has the perfect environment in which to acquire his material. His sculptures, printworks and drawings are widely exhibited from Michigan to New York, The United Kingdom and China. Significant collections such as the Detroit Institute of Art in Michigan, the Iron Bridge Outdoor Museum of Sculpture in England and the Xiadu Sculpture Park in China among others own John’s creations.

Artistic practice can be a vehicle for spiritual evolution and realization.
– John Richardson (August 2007)

Art consists of significance created through shifts in context.
– John Richardson (February 2013)

Works in the Park