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Sandrine Colard on the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale Ocula Conversation Sandrine Colard on the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the largest Francophone nation in Africa with vast resources and nearly 80 million inhabitants, is a place where commodities play a vital role in the national economy and the country's significance on the world stage. This is the context from which the 6th Lubumbashi Biennale (24 October–24 November...

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52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS Symposium Brings Ideas Offline Ocula Report
In collaboration with Artspace Sydney
52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS Symposium Brings Ideas Offline 13 Dec 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

From 20 to 21 July 2019, Artspace Sydney held a two-day symposium that brought artists in conversation with leading curators, writers, activists, academics, diplomats, and journalists from across Asia. The symposium was the final chapter of the 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS exhibition, publication, website, and Instagram project. Instigated and...

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We Are Our Infrastructure, Argues Newly Announced Shanghai Biennale Chief Curator Ocula News We Are Our Infrastructure, Argues Newly Announced Shanghai Biennale Chief Curator 13 December 2019

The Power Station of Art will make a fitting location for Andrés Jaque, whose past projects expose the politics concealed by buried pipes and managed cables. Spanish architect, writer, and curator Andrés Jaque has been named the chief curator of the 13th Shanghai Biennale, which will take place at the Power Station of Art (PSA) from 13 November...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy. Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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HomePage Artists

b. 1961, USA

Catherine Opie Biography

Catherine Opie is an American photographer best known for her portrayal of fringe facets of contemporary American life. Initially inspired by the documentary work of Lewis Hine (1874–1940), who used his camera to expose the plight of child labourers, Opie has worked with a diverse range of communities including lesbian families, sadomasochists, football players and surfers. Despite the seeming disparity of these groups, Opie’s oeuvre is cohesive in its effort to examine society’s perception of the marginalised and foster a new sense of intimacy and community.

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Throughout her career, Opie has frequently drawn from her immediate surroundings—including her family and friends—to respond to larger social discourses. Reacting against the homophobic campaigns of the 1990s led by Jesse Helms, Opie depicted her gay and lesbian friends in Los Angeles in 'Being and Having' (1991) and 'Portraits' (1993–1997). Through vibrant colours and formal compositions that bring to mind historic painters like Hans Holbein (c 1497–1543), Opie has portrayed the otherwise denigrated members of the queer community as dignified individuals. 

Of her numerous series, however, Opie is perhaps most remembered for her provocative self-portraits. Self-Portrait/Cutting (1993) and Self-Portrait/Pervert (1994), both exhibited at the 1995 Whitney Biennial, depict the artist at a time when she was involved in the leather community. In these photographs, Opie’s torso appears naked and her face anonymous, turned away from the camera or hidden underneath a leather mask. Drawings cut into her skin accompany her body in both images: one of a lesbian couple and the other of the word ‘Pervert’. The two images express the artist’s simultaneous desire for a family and her identity as a queer participant in sadomasochism. Opie’s self-portraits were a callout to the larger gay community, who she felt undervalued the leather community. In her striking declaration of self, Opie demanded that society reconsider its perception of ‘outsiders’.

A controversial figure in her early days, Opie has now come to enjoy critical success. Born in Ohio, she completed her studies in California, receiving a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1985 and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 1988. Since then, the artist has lived and worked in Los Angeles, where she has become a prominent local fixture: in 2001, she began teaching at University of California, Los Angeles, and she also is a board member at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Since her solo debut in 1991, Opie has exhibited widely in the United States, Europe and Japan. 

In 2008, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York devoted four floors to a mid-career survey of her work, entitled Catherine Opie: American Photographer. Opie has received the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Women’s Caucus for Art (2009) and been the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship (2006), the Larry Aldrich Award (2004), the Washington University Freund Fellowship (1999) and the Citibank Private Bank Emerging Artist Award (1997).

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2017

Catherine Opie Featured Artworks

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Mural Study #1 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieMural Study #1 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
51.4 x 41.3 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Mural Study #3 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieMural Study #3 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
51.4 x 41.3 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Mural Study #4 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieMural Study #4 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
51.4 x 41.3 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Mirror #1 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieMirror #1 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Mirror #2 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieMirror #2 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Artist #2 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieArtist #2 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Artist #3 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieArtist #3 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Artist #1 (The Modernist) by Catherine Opie contemporary artwork
Catherine OpieArtist #1 (The Modernist), 2016 Pigment print
101.6 x 67.6 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work

Catherine Opie Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Catherine Opie, The Modernist at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Closed
1 November 2018–12 January 2019 Catherine Opie The Modernist Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Catherine Opie, So long as they are wild at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong
Closed
17 May–7 July 2018 Catherine Opie So long as they are wild Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, American Landscape at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Closed
15 March–5 May 2018 Group Exhibition American Landscape Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, New York

Catherine Opie Represented By

Catherine Opie In Ocula Magazine

Catherine Opie Ocula Conversation Catherine Opie

In the 1990s, American photographer Catherine Opie rose to fame for her portraits of the lesbian and gay community in Los Angeles . Inspired by the documentary photographs of Berenice Abbott, Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange, among others, Opie cast her otherwise misunderstood and marginalised subjects as dignified individuals through formal...

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Catherine Opie In Related Press

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Catherine Opie at Lehmann Maupin Related Press Catherine Opie at Lehmann Maupin Art in America : 1 February 2019

A paranoiac's map of doomsday Los Angeles was the opening salvo in Catherine Opie's exhibition The Modernist . Declaring a new, experimental direction for the artist, the five-by-eight-foot collage combined photographs of the city's iconic midcentury architecture with ominous newspaper clippings and frenetic, hand-drawn flames.

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‘We Are Family’: Aperture Fetes Agnes and Catherine Gund, Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas, Catherine Opie at Fall Gala Related Press ‘We Are Family’: Aperture Fetes Agnes and Catherine Gund, Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas, Catherine Opie at Fall Gala ARTnews : 5 November 2018

Last week, during the Aperture Foundation's fall gala at a cavernous space in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, Marilyn Minter turned to Catherine Opie while the two artists stood onstage together, and said, "I wish you would adopt me." Opie, not missing a beat, deadpanned back, "Can I swaddle you, then?"

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Beauty and Disunity in Two Visions of the United States Related Press Beauty and Disunity in Two Visions of the United States Hyperallergic : 20 April 2018

A nation is a strange, abstracted construction: an aggregate of people, most of whom will never meet each other, who are nevertheless understood to be fellow citizens — that is, collaborators in some shared political project. American Landscape, on view at Lehmann Maupin gallery until May 5, presents two contradictory visions of the United...

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Catherine Opie: Portraits and Landscapes at Thomas Dane Gallery Related Press Catherine Opie: Portraits and Landscapes at Thomas Dane Gallery Contemporary Art Space : 3 November 2017

American photographer Catherine Opie shot to prominence in the early 1990s with a spectacular body of studio portraits of gay, lesbian and transgender women and men drawn from her circle of fellow artists and intimates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Her practice, sometimes described as 'social portraiture', spans across portraits, seascapes,...

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