Renée Stout grew up in Pittsburgh and received her B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1980. Originally trained as a painter, she moved to Washington, D.C. in 1985 where she began to explore the spiritual roots of her African American heritage through her work and eventually became the first American artist to exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Inspired by the African Diaspora, as well as everyday life in her DC neighborhood and current events, she employs a variety of media, including painting, drawing, mixed media sculpture, photography and installation in an attempt to create works that encourage self-examination, introspection and the ability to laugh at the absurdities of life and ourselves.
Stout has been the recipient of awards from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Bader Fund, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. She was also the recipient of the Driskell Prize, awarded by the High Museum of Art and the Sondheim Award. Stout’s work can be found in many museum and private collections throughout the United States and in The Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands. She has had solo exhibitions at the Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton, NY; the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, MI; the Beach Museum of Art, Manhattan, KS; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA and American University, Washington, D.C. among others. Her traveling museum exhibition, Tales of a Conjure Woman, which originated at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, SC was accompanied by a major monograph and was named one of the top 10 exhibitions of 2015 by Hyperallergic.
Her work is included in the many major public collections: The National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; University Of Tucson Art Museum, Tucson, AZ; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA and The Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS; Saint Louis Museum of Art, Saint Louis, MO; The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN; The Flint Institute of the Arts, Flint, MI; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, KS; The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; The National Museum of African American History & Culture, Washington, DC; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC.