Dara Birnbaum

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Biography

Dara Birnbaum’s pioneering video, media, and installation work has, over the past four decades, addressed the ideological and the aesthetic character of mass media imagery and has been considered fundamental to our understanding the history of media art.

Dara Birnbaum was born in New York in 1946 where she continues to live and work. Dara Birnbaum received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, a B.F.A. in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Certificate in Video and Electronic Editing at the Video Study Center at the New School for Social Research, New York. 

Dara Birnbaum’s pioneering video, media, and installation work has, over the past four decades, addressed the ideological and the aesthetic character of mass media imagery and has been considered fundamental to our understanding the history of media art.  She was one of the first artists to design complex and innovative installations that juxtapose imagery from multiple sources while also integrating three dimensional elements—large-scale photographs, sculptural or architectural elements—into the work. She is known for her groundbreaking strategies and for using manipulated television footage. 

Birnbaum's work has been widely exhibited internationally including at Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI), Rome (2019); Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (2018); South London Gallery, UK (2011); a major retrosepctive at the Serralves Foundation, Porto, Portugal (2010); S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium (2009); Center for Contemporary Art, CCA Kitakyushu (2009); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2006); and The Jewish Museum, New York (2003).

Birnbaum has been the recipient of various distinguished awards such as: The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts Residency (2011); the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2011); and the prestigious United States Artists Fellowship (2010). In 2016 she was recognized and honored for her work by The Kitchen, New York, at their annual gala. She is the first woman in video to receive the prestigious Maya Deren Award by the American Film Institute, in 1987. In February 2017, Carnegie Mellon University's School of Art created The Birnbaum Award in the artist’s honor.

Dara Birnbaum’s pioneering video, media, and installation work has, over the past four decades, addressed the ideological and the aesthetic character of mass media imagery and has been considered fundamental to our understanding the history of media art.

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On the cover of Dara Birnbaum's book,

Dara Birnbaum

The Dark Matter of Media Light
Published on the occasion of the first major retrospective of Dara Birnbaum's work. Since the 1970s Dara Birnbaum has been studying and making art about mass media. Her videos and installations often...

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