Born in Brooklyn, New York, James Smith Pierce received his PhD in art history from Harvard University. During his career as a professor, Pierce also became an accomplished artist, whose artworks were included in important exhibitions (including a show on land art at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC) and books on contemporary earthworks and site-specific sculpture. Pierce was also a photographer, exhibition curator, and art collector.
The James Smith Pierce Collection at the University of North Dakota includes works of art created by Pierce himself as well as works of art that he collected. All of the works and objects included in these collections were acquired ca. 2010 with generous support from the Myers Foundations, in a project facilitated by Professor Emeritus Arthur Jones, PhD. Additional information for works has been provided by Carol Smyers, spouse of the late James Smith Pierce, where noted.
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