Mitch Epstein

Biography

Mitch Epstein (born 1952, Holyoke, Massachusetts) is a photographer who helped pioneer fine-art color photography in the 1970s, along with William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Stephen Shore. Epstein’s work investigates the politics of human intimacy and how intimacy interacts with the world at large, while also examining how corporate and governmental power is changing the landscape in which we live.

His photographs are in numerous major museum collections, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art; The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Tate Modern in London. In 2013, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis commissioned and premiered a theatrical rendition of Epstein’s American Power photographic series. This seminal series examines energy usage and excess in the United States. Epstein plays with the definition of American power, probing not just corporate power but the powers of sexuality and consumption. A collaboration between Epstein and cellist Eric Friedlander, the performance combined original live music, storytelling, video, and projected photographs and archival material. Epstein and Friedlander also performed at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio (2014), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2015).

Epstein’s fourteen books include Property Rights (Steidl, spring 2021), Sunshine Hotel (Steidl/PPP Editions, fall 2019); Rocks and Clouds (Steidl 2017); New York Arbor (Steidl 2013); Berlin (Steidl/The American Academy in Berlin 2011); American Power (Steidl 2009); Mitch Epstein: Work (Steidl 2006); Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988 (Steidl 2005); and Family Business (Steidl 2003), winner of the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award.


In 2020, Mitch Epstein was inducted as an Academician to the National Academy of Design. In 2011, Epstein won the Prix Pictet for American Power. Among his other awards are the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters from the American Academy in Berlin (2008), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003).

Epstein has worked as a director, cinematographer, and production designer on several films, including DadMississippi Masala, and Salaam Bombay!. He lives with his family in New York City.

Mitch Epstein is a pioneer of color photography, who, along with William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz and Stephen Shore, began to redefine it as an art form nearly thirty years ago.

Epstein’s work investigates the politics of human intimacy and how intimacy interacts with the world at large, while also examining how corporate and governmental power is changing the landscape in which we live.

Epstein’s seminal series American Power examines energy usage and excess in the United States. Epstein plays with the definition of American power, probing not just corporate power but the powers of sexuality and consumption.

Biography

Born 1952 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA.

Lives and works in New York, USA.

Education and Teaching

1970 – 1971

Union College, New York

1971 – 1972

Rhode Island School of Design, Rhode Island

1972 – 1974

The Cooper Union, New York

1977

Lecturer for Photography, Harvard University, Cambridge

1997 – 2001

Professor for Photography, Bard College, School of the Arts

2004

Guest lecturer, Graduate Photography Program, School of Visual Arts

Grants and Awards

2020

National Academy of Design Inductee

2018

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

2011

Winner, Prix Pictet Photography Prize

2009

Gold Medal, Deutscher Fotobuchpreis (American Power)

Open Society Institute Documentary Photography Grant

2008

Fellowship at the American Academy, Berlin, Germany

2004

Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award (Family Business)

2002 – 2003

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

1997

American Institute of Graphic Artists, 50 Best Books of the Year

1996 – 1997

Camera Works, Inc. Artist Grant

1994

Pinewood Foundation Artist Grant

1980

New York State Council for the Arts

1978

National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Grant

Solo Exhibitions

2023

Recreation, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, USA

2022 – 2023

Mitch Epstein. Silver + Chrome, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

2022

Mitch Epstein. En Inde 1978-1989, Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France

2020 – 2021

Mitch Epstein. Property Rights, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

2020

Mitch Epstein. American Power, Moscow Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia

2019

Mitch Epstein. In Time, Museum Helmond/Kunsthal Helmond, Netherlands

Mitch Epstein. Property Rights, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

Mitch Epstein. Property Rights, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

2017

Mitch Epstein. New York Arbor, Musée de la Photographie André Villers, Mougins, France

Mitch Epstein. Free of Charge, Andreas Murkudis, Berlin, Germany

Mitch Epstein. Rocks, Clouds and a Tree, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

2013

Mitch Epstein. New York Arbor, Fondation A Stichting, Brussels, Belgium

2012 – 2013

Mitch Epstein. New York Arbor, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

2011

Mitch Epstein, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, UK

Mitch Epstein. American Power, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, France

2010 – 2011

Mitch Epstein. State of the Union, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany

2008

Mitch Epstein. Vietnam, Brancolini Grimaldi Arte Conte, Rome, Italy

2007

Mitch Epstein, Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Mitch Epstein, Sikkema, Jenkins & Co., New York

Mitch Epstein. Work, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

2005

Mitch Epstein, Brent Sikkema, New York

2004

Mitch Epstein, Yancey Richardson, New York

Mitch Epstein, PhotoEspana, Madrid, Spain

Mitch Epstein, Brancolini Grimaldi Arte, Florence, Italy

Mitch Epstein, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia

2003

Mitch Epstein, Power House, Memphis, Tennessee

2001

Mitch Epstein, Brent Sikkema, New York

Mitch Epstein, Rose Gallery, Santa Monica, California

1999

Mitch Epstein, Brent Sikkema, New York

1998

Mitch Epstein, Center for Documentary Studies, Durham, North Carolina

1996

Mitch Epstein, Rose Gallery, Santa Monica, California

1994

Mitch Epstein, Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Mitch Epstein, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio

1991

Mitch Epstein, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts

1989

Mitch Epstein, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California

1987

Mitch Epstein, Julie Saul Gallery, New York

1982

Mitch Epstein, Light Gallery, New York

1979

Mitch Epstein, Light Gallery, New York

Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2023 – 2024

A Long Arc: Photography and the American South since 1845, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

2023

Intimate Strangers, Yancey Richardson, New York, USA

People Watching: Contemporary Photography Since 1965, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin, Maine, USA

This is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture, Museum of the City of New York, NY, USA

Civilization: The Way We Live Now, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

2022 – 2023

Civilization: The Way We Live Now, Musei San Domenico, Forlì, Italy

On The Line: Documents of Risk and Faith, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, USA

2022

Singing in Unison: Artists Need to Create On the Same Scale That Society Hast he Capacity to Destroy, Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York, USA

Through the Looking Glass, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, USA

In The Shadow of Trees, PhotoBrussels Festival 06, Hangar Photo Art Center, Belgium

Celebrating the City: Recent Photography Acquisitions from the Joy of Giving Something Foundation, The Museum of the City of New York, USA

2021

American Photography, Albertina, Vienna, Austria

In Conversation with Walker Evans: Four Photographers, Art Museum of West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia

Civilization: The Way We Live, Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM), Marseille, France

2020 – 2021

Ansel Adams in Our Time, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

2020

Civilization: The Way We Live Now, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, New Zealand

Southbound. Photographs of and about the New South, LSU Museum of Art, Baton Rogue, Louisiana

BOOKS. An exhibition of books about art and art about books, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

Emotion and Structure, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

2019 – 2020

Civilization: The Way We Live Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Cars: Accelerating the Modern World, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

2019

Civilization: The Way We Live Now, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

2018 – 2019

Ansel Adams in Our Time, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

2018

Civilization: The Way We Live Now, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea

Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Charleston, South Carolina

No Time, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco, California

Streetwise, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

2017

Photography from the Walther Collection, FOTO/INDUSTRIA Biennial, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna, Italy

Illuminating India: Photography 1857-2017, Science Museum, London, UK

2016

Telling Tales: Contemporary Narrative Photography, McNay Art Museum San Antonio, Texas

Summer Exhibition 2016, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK

2015

Celebrating Photography at the National Gallery of Art: Recent Gifts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Museum of Stones, The Noguchi Museum, Queens, New York

Pair(s), Maison Particulière Art Center, Brussels, Belgium

2014

Eyes Wide Open! 100 Jahre Leica Fotografie, Haus der Fotografie, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany

Prix Pictet: A Retrospective at Les Recontres d’Arles, France

Color! American Photography Transformed at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.

Musée Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon sur Saone, France

2013

A Democracy of Images – Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

EXPO 1: New York at MoMA/PS1 Queens, New York

Le radici dello sguardo at il Filatoio di Caraglio, Italy

2012

Infinite Balance, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Out of Focus, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

The New York Times Magazine Photographs, Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2011 – 2012

Appropriated Landscapes, The Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm, Germany

The Unseen Eye, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York

2011

The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada

Infinite Balance: Artists and the Environment, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Growth. Prix Pictet, Arteversum, Düsseldorf, Germany (travelling exhibition)

New Documentary Forms, Tate Modern, London, UK

Hyper Real – Kunst und Amerika um 1970, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany

Mannerism and Modernism: The Kasper Collection of Drawings and Photographs, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

2010

Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera, Tate Modern, London, UK (travelling exhibition)

American Documents, FotoMuseum, Antwerp, Belgium

2008

Arbeitswelten, Art Foyer DZ Bank, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

2007

Intersections: Atlanta Collects Photography, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

2006 – 2007

Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California

Ecotopia: The Second Triennial of Photography and Video, International Center of Photography, New York

2006

Cities in Transition, Public Art Project with Chuck Close and Dayanita Singh, Commissioned by United Technologies Corporation, Boston (Downtown Crossing subway station), Hartford (Bushnell Park), New York (Madison Square Park)

The photograph ‘Hadrian’s Villa, Rome, Italy, 1982’, Museum of Modern Art, New York

iCI, Shoot the Family, Traveling exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff. Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington

2005

Garry Winogrand and the American Street Photographers, Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2004

The Open Book, Hasselblad Center, Goteborg, Sweden

Seventies Color Photography, Kennedy/Boesky Photographs, New York

2002

NY after NY, Musée de L’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland

2001

Sense of Space, Noorderlicht, Groningen, Netherlands

Overnight to Many Cities, 303 Gallery

Walkabout, New York Historical Society

Blind Spot #17, Mass College of Art

2000

New York Now, Museum of the City of New York, New York

1999

California – Eggleston and the Color Tradition, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California

Brent Sikkema, New York

Selected Films

2003

Dad, Production and Regie, Short Cut

1992

Mississippi Masala, Production, Design and Camera, Movie

1988

Salaam Bombay!, Production, Design and Camera, Movie

1985

India Cabaret, Camera, Dokumentary

1982

So Far From India, Director of Photography, Documentary

Selected Bibliography

2022

Mitch Epstein. Silver + Chrome, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen, Germany

2021

Mitch Epstein. In India, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

Mitch Epstein. Property Rights, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2019

Mitch Epstein. Sunshine Hotel, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2018

Mitch Epstein. Rocks and Clouds, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2013

Mitch Epstein. New York Arbor, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2011

Mitch Epstein. Berlin, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2010

Mitch Epstein. State of the Union, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Berlin/Ostfildern/Stuttgart, Germany

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surviellance and the Camera, Tate Publishing

Starbust: Color Photography in America 1970-1980, Hatje Cantz

2009

Mitch Epstein. American Power, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2006

Mitch Epstein. WORK, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

Where we live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California

2005

Mitch Epstein. Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2003

Mitch Epstein. Family Business, Steidl Publishers, Göttingen, Germany

2002

Visions from America, Photographs from the Whitney Museum of American Art 1940-2001, Prestel Verlag, Munich, Germany

2001

Mitch Epstein. The City, powerHouse Books, New York

1996

Vietnam: A Book of Changes, W.W. Norton/DoubleTake

1995

Fire Water Wind, Tenrikyo Doyusha

1987

In Pursuit of India, Aperture, New York

Public Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Tate Modern, London, UK

Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

International Center of Photography, New York

J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland

New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana

Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France

Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan

Museum of Contemporary Art, Mexico City, Mexico

Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia

Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, New York

Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California

Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Memphis

St. Louis Museum of Art, St Louis, Missouri

The Walther Collection, Ulm, Germany

Deutsche Börse Group, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Vassar College Art Museum, Poughkeepsie, New York

Gilman Paper Collection, New York

LaSalle Bank Photography Collection, Chicago, Illinois

Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

Equitable Life Assurance Society, New York

Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Chase Manhattan Art Program, New York

Citibank, New York

Morgan Guaranty, New York

Goldman Sachs, New York

KMS Fine Art Group, Baar, Switzerland

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