NuPenny’s Last Stand: A Q&A with Randy Regier

2005 Graduate Scholar Randy Regier will be featured in the “State of The Art: Discovering American Art Now” show at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We asked Randy a few questions about his career as an artist, his inspiration for NuPenny, and what he has been working on recently.randy_regier

What scholarship program were you a part of/what year? 

I received a Graduate Scholarship and was a Scholar from 2005 to 2007. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship covered all my expenses for the M.F.A. program at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine.

What made you decide to have a career in art? 

I don’t know how that came about, I did not desire or seek to become an artist. Perhaps it’s the necessity to make things—and the sense that the kind of world I wished to see did (does) not yet exist. Making “art” is akin to making one’s way in the world and having an effect on the aesthetic experience. I like the agency of being an artist, even though much of the life being an artist is quite undesirable.

How did the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation help you achieve that career?

If I had NOT received the Foundation’s support I could not live as an artist today. The amount of debt incurred by most graduate students as they pursue a M.F.A. cripples their ability to live as artists after the programs are through. Because of the Foundation grant, I don’t owe more money than I can scrape together solely making art.

How would you describe your art?

Narrative-based sculptures and installations. 

Why do choose to use toys in your work?

Toys are effective, like the Trojan Horse. They appeal to people in general, and they are rich with the potential to explore commentary, narrative, and human history.

Describe NuPenny’s Last Stand.

It’s an itinerant toy “stand” from the depths of the American Dream.


Where did the name come from?

I like new pennies. I think they are beautiful and without real commercial value, like art.

What was your inspiration for this installation?

Twilight Zone episodes, poetry, and song lyrics.

What was your process for creating it?

Labor, a lot of it. And I had a lot of help from a Harry Faust Public Sculpture Grant from the Waterville, Maine, based foundation after his name.

What was your reaction when you found out you had been chosen to be in the “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now” show?

I’ve not reacted strongly yet, let’s see how the show goes. There is still a lot of work to do and chances to take before we know how this will turn out.

What have you been up to recently?

Working on a series of pieces titled “Machines To Dispel Sadness,” and trying to deal with the loss of my father.

What do you want to do next/in the future?

Make a living before I turn 51.

What is your favorite memory as a Scholar?

The readings. Loved the readings, philosophy….good stuff.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for your interest, and I will be forever grateful for the generosity of the JKCF Foundation.

With the “State of The Art: Discovering American Art Now” show, “the Museum sought to discover artists whose work has not yet been fully recognized on a national level. The result of this unprecedented journey is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that draws from every region of the US, offering an unusually diverse and nuanced look at American art. The exhibition will examine the myriad ways in which today’s artists are informed by the past, innovating with materials old and new, and engaging deeply with issues relevant to our times,” explains the website.

The exhibition, which opens this fall and runs through January 2015, features more than 200 pieces from 102 artists from across the country. Works in the exhibition include photography, video, ceramics, action/interaction, glass, fiber, installation, paper, paining, and sculpture.