Skip to Content
All MassArt news

Steve Locke: NORMAL Installation

  • Press Releases

Boston, MA – May 2, 2023 -Massachusetts College of Art and Design is pleased to announce Steve Locke: NORMAL, a site-specific installation by the renowned artist, alumnus, former MassArt faculty member, and MassArt honorary degree recipient Steve Locke. This piece was created to honor the history and legacy of the college, as MassArt celebrates its 150th anniversary. Presented on the facade of the College’s South Building, inscribed in 1906 with “Boston Normal School” on the building’s lintel, the artwork will consist of hot pink illumination that traces the word “Normal.” The work literally highlights MassArt’s history as a teaching institution, established in 1873, as a “Normal School,” the 19th-century term for colleges educating and preparing teachers. The reception for NORMAL will take place on Monday, May 15, 2023 with a reception with the artist at 6:30pm at the MassArt Art Museum (MAAM) and the unveiling at 8:00pm on the facade of the South Building.

Light, and in particular fluorescent signage, has historically been a form of announcement or a call for attention, as well as used as an orientation point for a neighborhood. Locke’s addition to the sign of the College uses light to affirm MassArt’s landmark status, while enhancing the campus as a point of orientation for the neighborhood.

“By framing and focusing on the word NORMAL, the work affirms the arts as a site of commonality,” said Steve Locke. “The arts are not outside of everyday experience. MassArt is a public college of art and design that trains people to creatively affect every aspect of life. The work makes claims to the arts as normal and available, affirming the spirit of the Massachusetts Drawing Act of 1873, which created the school.”

Steve Locke was recently named the recipient of the 2022 Rappaport Prize, an annual art award presented by deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum through the generosity of the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, which is presented to a contemporary artist with strong connections to New England and a proven record of achievement.



Steve Locke (b.1963 in Cleveland, Ohio), lives and works in Brooklyn and Hudson, NY. In 2001, Locke received his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Locke has exhibited extensively, including solo exhibitions at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, and Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where his 2019 work, Three Deliberate Grays for Freddie: A Memorial for Freddie Gray, was described by the Boston Globe as “[A]bstract and enigmatic, at once a vivid display of beauty and a somber spot for mourning.” Locke is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2020) and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2014). Long recognized for the excellence of his teaching, Locke is Professor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. He is represented by Alexander Gray Associates and LaMontagne Gallery.


Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is a public, independent institution that prepares artists, designers, and educators to shape communities, economies, and cultures for the common good. Since 1873, MassArt has built a legacy of leadership as the first freestanding public college of art and design in the country, and the nation’s first art school to grant a degree. MassArt offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, design, and art education, taught by world-class faculty.


Thomas Brown, Thomas Brown Communications


T:+1 917-968-3351

image description
621 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 879-7000