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 MFA 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 announced an artist project and residency with Lutter, taking place from February 2017 through January 2019 and culminating in an exhibition that runs through September 2021.
Lutter lives and works in New York City.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2022
The Summer 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, with two different covers—featuring Takashi Murakami’s 108 Bonnō MURAKAMI.FLOWERS (2022) and Andreas Gursky’s V & R II (2022).
Vera Lutter: Museum in the Camera
During a two-year residency at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, from 2017 to 2019, Vera Lutter documented the museum’s changing campus and permanent collection, using her distinctive photographic technique. Here, she speaks about the experience with the museum’s director, Michael Govan.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2020
The Spring 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #412 (2003) on its cover.
Vera Lutter speaks with Gagosian’s Derek Blasberg about her Museum of Fine Arts Houston exhibition, using a shipping container as a camera, and her place in photography as we enter a digital age.
Vera Lutter: On New York
Vera Lutter sat down with Marvin Heiferman, an independent curator and expert in photography, to discuss her latest New York exhibition.
Art For Your World: Vera Lutter
September 28–October 10, 2021
Vera Lutter’s photograph Drilling Tower, Kvaerner: November 29, 2000 (2000) is being exhibited digitally on a three-story building on Oxford Street in London, presented by W1 Curates, which brings art to the people by using cutting-edge technology to transform the exterior of the Flannels London flagship store into a digital exhibition space.
Lutter’s photograph will be one of eight artworks auctioned at Sotheby’s beginning October 8 in support of WWF’s campaign Art For Your World. This initiative seeks to mobilize the art world in the fight against the climate crisis by raising funds toward WWF’s work halting deforestation, supporting indigenous communities, restoring trees and forests, replanting seagrass meadows, protecting endangered species, and promoting sustainable lifestyles, ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November.
Vera Lutter, Drilling Tower, Kvaerner: November 29, 2000, 2000, installation view, Flannels, London © Vera Lutter. Photo: courtesy W1 Curates
Perspectives on “Vera Lutter: Museum in the Camera”
Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 7pm EDT
As part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s In Response program, architect Barbara Bestor, lacma associate curator Tushara Bindu Gude, artist Janna Ireland, and Helen Frankenthaler Foundation executive director Elizabeth Smith will reflect on Vera Lutter’s photographs documenting lacma using a camera obscura, which were taken between February 2017 and January 2019. The talk will be moderated by Jennifer King, lacma associate curator. In Response brings together creative thinkers from different fields to share diverse perspectives on the museum’s exhibitions. Vera Lutter: Museum in the Camera will open to the public on April 1. To join the online event, register at web.zoom.us.
Vera Lutter, School of El Greco, The Apostle St. Andrew, c. 1600: March 2–May 14, 2017, 2017 © Vera Lutter
Museum in the Camera
Friday, January 29, 2021, 3–4pm EST
Join Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan and the museum’s associate curator of contemporary art Jennifer King for an insightful conversation and tour of the exhibition Vera Lutter: Museum in the Camera. Between February 2017 and January 2019, Lutter documented LACMA using a camera obscura, creating photographs that examine the museum’s exterior architecture, gallery interiors, and permanent collection. Museum in the Camera features the compelling photographs made during this two-year residency. To watch the live event, RSVP at lacma.org.
Installation view, Vera Lutter: Museum in the Camera, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 29–August 9, 2020. Artwork © Vera Lutter. Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA
Photographing the Fantastic
Through September 2022
NSU Art Museum, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Photographing the Fantastic explores photographs of magical moments, the uncanny, and the wondrous, drawn from the extensive photography collection of the NSU Art Museum, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Work by Gregory Crewdson and Vera Lutter is included.
Gregory Crewdson, Untitled, 2001–02 © Gregory Crewdson
Museum in the Camera
April 1–September 12, 2021
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Between February 2017 and January 2019, Vera Lutter documented the Los Angeles County Museum of Art using a camera obscura, creating photographs that examine the museum’s exterior architecture, gallery interiors, and permanent collection. This exhibition features the photographs made during this two-year residency.
Vera Lutter, LACMA from the Bridge, III: April 3–5, 2017, 2017 © Vera Lutter
Civilisation, Photography, Now
June 13–October 18, 2020
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand
Civilisation, Photography, Now features more than two hundred works from one hundred international photographers. The exhibition considers patterns of mass behavior and the complexities of life in twenty-first-century urban environments. This show originated at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, as Civilization: The Way We Live Now. Work by Mike Kelley, Vera Lutter, and Taryn Simon is included.
Taryn Simon, Oxalis tuberosa, Peru (7CFR) (prohibited), 2010, from the series Contraband, 2010 © Taryn Simon
The Way We Live Now
September 13, 2019–February 2, 2020
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Civilization: The Way We Live Now features more than two hundred works from one hundred international photographers. The exhibition considers patterns of mass behavior and the complexities of life in twenty-first-century urban environments. This show originated at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul. Work by Mike Kelley, Vera Lutter, and Taryn Simon is included.
Vera Lutter, Clock Tower, Brooklyn, XXXVI: June 16, 2009, 2009 © Vera Lutter