R.T. Livingston is a conceptual artist who spent 30 years living and working between her lower Manhattan studios and Woodstock, New York. In 2003 she came to California to create two large installations: one in the desert, the other in Santa Barbara. She returned to California several times creating an installation in San Francisco and two films shown at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival: 2005 and 2006.
California’s natural beauty resonated with her and in 2006 she made the move to Santa Barbara where she continues to work on a number of projects focusing on the environment.
The environment, and our relationship to it, inspires a body of work that ranges from large-scale installations to photographic-video-graphic series to music to painting and whatever creative vehicle she deems fit to get her point across.
In the Fine Arts Department at Daemon College, Buffalo, New York, Livingston studied with Elizabeth Murray. Graduate work in the History of Photography took her to Princeton where she studied with Peter Bunnell. While working on her Ph.D. in Art History at Rutgers University, she joined the curatorial staff at The University’s Zimmerli Art Museum where in 1976 she curated the exhibition “Photographic Process as Medium.”
During the late seventies-early eighties Livingston owned and ran Lapp Princess Press, publishing books by Chuck Close, Elizabeth Murray, Sylvia and Robert Mangold, James Rosenquist and others. At the time when Andy Warhol was in charge, Livingston used Interview Magazine’s ad pages as exhibition space for her ad/performance character Her Serene Highness, The Lapp Princess.
In the mid-eighties, Livingston founded The Page Museum: An Alternative Exhibition Space for Art. At that time RT Livingston, Lloyd Allen and Mitch Watkins, formed the band The Law. Their videos premiered on MTV.
In 1983 Harvey Lichtenstein invited Livingston to become a charter member of the Producers’ Council for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. She sat on the board of directors at Franklin Furnace: a Lower Manhattan creative landmark. In upstate New York, she sat on the ASK Board as well as several committees for the Woodstock Guild.
Collaboration is important part of Livingston’s oeuvre.
In 1990, Livingston, and her graphic art partner Nancy Mitchell, created Sprocket Art & Co., Inc., as a piece of performance art. They imitated the corporate world in order to enter it. Their work was seen and sold in museum and high-end gift stores throughout the United States. The Sprockets gained national recognition in 1994 when they created the 4-month performance piece: Trade What Trademark.
Livingston collaborated, as the cinematographer and creative partner, on two video projects that she and the Santa Barbara choreographer Robin Bisio created in 2003 and 2005: I Could Sing Watches for You and 1 Dance 2 Sea.
In 2006-7 she was asked to participate in Santa Barbara’s lightblueline [http://www.independent.com/news/2007/aug/09/light-blue-line-not-erased/] project wherein a group of climate change activists planned to mark Santa Barbara’s high water line [using the melting of Greenland as a marker] as a reminder of things to come if we don’t curb CO2s in the environment. The project continues in cyberspace.
In March of 2011, 5 days after the tragic events at Fukushima Daiichi, Livingston and Adrianne Davis began the video-graphic project Hot Posse , a collaboration focusing on the shift from nuclear and fossil fuel to sustainable renewable sources: SUN WIND WATER.
In 2002 she began the Herd Around the World global collaboration wherein plastic farm animals travel the world, with their respective Herders, looking for reality and the meaning of life.
Livingston paints in series. At present, The CiC, Impossible/Crucial and “I draw the line where the water meets the sky” invade her mind.