Inspired by the city’s presence, light, and architecture, Vera Lutter began experimenting with photography. In order to capture an immediate and direct imprint of her experience, Lutter decided to turn the room in which she lived into a large pinhole camera—thereby transforming the space that contained her personal experience into the apparatus that would capture an image of it. Through a simple pinhole instead of an optically carved lens, the outside world flooded the interior of the room and projected an inverted image onto the opposite wall. Exposing directly onto wall–size sheets of photographic paper, the artist achieved large–scale black and white images. Maintaining her concept of directness and least possible alteration, Lutter decided to retain the negative image and refrain from multiplication or reproduction.
New York is a returning subject in Lutter’s work, and through working internationally, she employed the technique of the camera obscura, or pinhole camera, in projects around the world where she photographically rendered architecture, shipyards, airports, and abandoned factories, focusing on industrial sites that pertain to transportation and fabrication. Vera Lutter’s work has been recognized by many periodicals including Artforum, ARTnews, Art in America, BOMB, and The New York Times; as well as books including 100 Contemporary Artists (Taschen), The Photograph as Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson), and Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives in Photography (Phaidon).
Vera Lutter was born in 1960 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She graduated in 1991 from the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, and received her M.F.A. in 1995 from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Lutter's images have been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions. Recent solo shows include the Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1999–2000); Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2001); Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2002); Kunsthaus Graz, Austria (2004); Dia Beacon, New York (2005); The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2005); Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland (2008); Carré d’art Musée d’Art contemporain, Nimes (2012); “Inverted Worlds,” Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2015, traveling to New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, through 2016); and “This is a Photograph,” Penland Gallery and Visitors Center, North Carolina (2016). Lutter’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, among others. Lutter had the honor of receiving the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Grant in 1993, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2001, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2002. In early 2017, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced an artist project and residency with Lutter, taking place from February 2017 through March 2018 and culminating in an exhibition in fall 2018.
Lutter lives and works in New York City.
February 7–April 14, 2018
Britannia Street, London
January 29–March 7, 2015
976 Madison Avenue, New York
April 12–May 21, 2011
Davies Street, London
July 24–September 12, 2009
March 15–April 21, 2007
West 24th Street, New York
October 14–November 27, 2004
Heddon Street, London
April 5–May 3, 2003
West 24th Street, New York
Fairs, Events & Announcements
Vera Lutter at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 1pm
Cerritos College, Norwalk, California
Jennifer King, the associate curator of contemporary projects at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will speak about Vera Lutter’s ongoing residency at LACMA and the artist’s forthcoming exhibition at the museum in 2020. Since January 2017, Lutter has been documenting the museum using a camera obscura, creating photographs that examine the museum’s exterior architecture, gallery interiors, and permanent collection. The event is free and open to the public.
Vera Lutter, Rodin Garden, V: February 28, 2017, 2017 © Vera Lutter
Seattle Art Fair
August 2–5, 2018, booth A09
CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle
Gagosian is pleased to present Out of This World: Artists Explore Space, a booth curated by Larry Gagosian for the 2018 Seattle Art Fair. The presentation gathers works that reveal artistic and scientific explorations of the cosmos. Featured artists include Richard Avedon, Andisheh Avini, Chris Burden, Alexander Calder, Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Neil Jenney, Mike Kelley, Yves Klein, Vera Lutter, Brice Marden, Marc Newson, Nam June Paik, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Taryn Simon, Yves Tanguy, and Andy Warhol, among others.
Ed Ruscha, Even Though He’s Light Years Away, His Heart Belongs to Me, 1963 © Ed Ruscha
Friday, May 18, 2018, 2:30–3:30pm
Somerset House, London
On the occasion of Photo London, Vera Lutter and Martin Barnes, senior curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, will speak about Lutter’s exploration of light, time, and movement and her use of a room-sized camera obscura to capture architecture, urban landscapes, and industrial sites. The pair will also discuss her decision to retain the negative image and refrain from multiplication or reproduction. To attend the event, purchase tickets at photolondon.org.
Vera Lutter, Cold Spring, IX: February 17, 2014, 2014
Opening this Week
The Way We Live Now
October 18, 2018–February 17, 2019
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Civilization: The Way We Live Now features more than two hundred works from one hundred international photographers. The show addresses and illuminates major aspects of our increasingly global civilization and stresses the fact that contemporary society is an extremely complex collective enterprise. Work by Vera Lutter and Taryn Simon is included.
Vera Lutter, Clock Tower, Brooklyn, XXXVI: June 16, 2009, 2009 © Vera Lutter
Vera Lutter in
Masterpiece Art Society
November 29–December 17, 2017
The Chrysler Museum is proud to include Vera Lutter’s Clock Tower, Brooklyn, XLIV: June 22–23, 2009 (2009) as a part of their upcoming Masterpiece Art Society exhibition. The Masterpiece Art Society was founded twenty-five years ago for museum members to simultaneously increase their understanding of art and collecting, purchase works of art and collection, and enjoy the company of fellow art enthusiasts.
Vera Lutter, Clock Tower, Brooklyn, XLIV: June 22–23, 2009, 2009 © Vera Lutter