biography

Barbara Bloom was born in Los Angeles in 1951. She lives and works in New York.

Through photography, installation, film and books, Bloom explores notions of museology, design, collecting, taste and our investment in the objects we surround ourselves with. Her gaze does not focus on single items or images, but rather on the relationships between these objects, and the inherent meaning carried by their positioning and juxtaposition. Though enthusiastically visual, Bloom’s practice is rooted more in the traditional act of literary production rather than that of painting or sculpture making.

She has often compared herself—and the viewer of her work—to a detective, who is confronted with disparate clues and is asked to form a visual narrative. Her seductive use of shadows, traces, Braille, broken objects and watermarks, all demonstrate an unwavering interest in visualizing the fragile workings of memory, the ephemeral, and the absent—invisible presences activated by our gaze.

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Barbara Bloom was born in Los Angeles in 1951. She lives and works in New York.

Through photography, installation, film and books, Bloom explores notions of museology, design, collecting, taste and our investment in the objects we surround ourselves with. Her gaze does not focus on single items or images, but rather on the relationships between these objects, and the inherent meaning carried by their positioning and juxtaposition. Though enthusiastically visual, Bloom’s practice is rooted more in the traditional act of literary production rather than that of painting or sculpture making.

She has often compared herself—and the viewer of her work—to a detective, who is confronted with disparate clues and is asked to form a visual narrative. Her seductive use of shadows, traces, Braille, broken objects and watermarks, all demonstrate an unwavering interest in visualizing the fragile workings of memory, the ephemeral, and the absent—invisible presences activated by our gaze.

Bloom’s solo exhibitions include: ...The Whole Grand Pattern of Human Endeavor, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (2023); Works on Paper, David Lewis, New York (2021); The Weather, Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2020); The Rendering (H X W X D =), Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2018); Two Artists Books by Barbara Bloom with Susan Tallman, Fleming Museum of Art, University of Vermont, Burlington (2017); The Weather, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan (2016); Barbara Bloom: Framing Wall, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); As it were... so to speak, Jewish Museum, New York (2013); The Collections of Barbara Bloom, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2008); Absence-Presence, Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena (2007); Never Odd or Even, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1992); The Reign of Narcissism, Serpentine Gallery, London (1990); The Gaze, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1985).

Her work has been included in group exhibitions at: ThisPlay, Arter, Istanbul (2022); Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit, Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg, Germany (2020); The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2019); The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. and MoCA Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles (2018); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2017); BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, Bruxelles (2016); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2015); Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2015); Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2014); Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Venice (2011); Palais the Tokyo, Paris (2010); De Appel, Amsterdam (2009); Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur (2008); Duolon Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai (2005); Kunsthaus Graz, Graz (2004); Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, New York (2004); Museum Fridericianum, Kassel (1999); Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (1998); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1996); SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe (1995); MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna (1994); Fundacion Caja de Pensiones, Madrid (1992); The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1990); The New Museum, New York (1988); Secession, Vienna (1982); Westkunst, Museen der Stadt, Cologne (1981).

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works

The Tip of The Iceberg, 1991

Installation view at Art Basel | Unlimited, Messe Basel, 2018

Glass, mirror, steel table, porcelain, plaster medallion, circular floor and ceiling illumination

dimensions variable

Photo: Simon Vogel

The Tip of The Iceberg, 1991 (detail)

Installation view at Art Basel | Unlimited, Messe Basel, 2018

Glass, mirror, steel table, porcelain, plaster medallion, circular floor and ceiling illumination

dimensions variable

Photo: Simon Vogel

The Tip of The Iceberg, 1991 (detail)

Installation view at Art Basel | Unlimited, Messe Basel, 2018

Glass, mirror, steel table, porcelain, plaster medallion, circular floor and ceiling illumination

dimensions variable

Photo: Simon Vogel

Under a sky of flawless blue. (Gide), 2015

Hand tufted woollen carpet with carved Braille text

274,3 × 182,88 cm

It had begun to snow again. (Joyce), 2015

Hand tufted woollen carpet with carved Braille text

274,3 × 182,88 cm

Envy II (From The Seven Deadly Sins), 1987/2017

Installation view at Art Basel | Feature, Messe Basel, 2017

Mixed media construction: two Fauteuils, litograph, mirror, linen handkerchief

Two chairs 98 x 57 cm each, one oval framed mirror 40,64 x 50,8 cm, one oval framed image covered with plexiglass 40,64 x 50,8 cm, one embroidered linen handkerchief, one wooden pedestal 150 x 87 x 8 cm

Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

The Gaze, 1985-1992

Installation view at Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, 2000

His/Her Eyes, 2022

Two oil portraits, custom mat

72,1 × 59,4 × 5 cm framed each

The Gaze: Ingres Girl Viewers, 1987

Archival digital color print

63,5 × 93,98 cm framed

The Gaze: Carambole, 1985

Archival digital color print, drawings

60,96 × 91,44 cm; 63,5 × 93,98 cm framed

Lolita Carpet, 1998

Wool rug

243,8 × 152,4 cm

Broken (Pitcher), 2001

Broken celadon object, box with computer-generated paper,Xray of object framed with back lighting

30,48 × 40,64 cm frame; overall dimensions variable

Broken (Scoop Bowl), 2001

Broken celadon object, box with computer-generated paper, Xray of object framed with back lighting

30,48 × 40,64 cm frame; overall dimensions variable

Broken (Shape Vase), 2001

Broken celadon object, Box with computer-generated paper, Xray of object framed with back lighting

30,48 × 40,64 cm frame; overall dimensions variable

Balance #2 (Blue Head Balance), 2001

Iris print in colored matte with broken glass embedded in Plexiglass

104 × 79 × 5 cm framed

Balance #5 (Green Act), 2001

Iris print in colored matte with broken glass embedded in Plexiglass

104 × 79 × 5 cm framed

Balance #6 (Orange Girl), 2001

Iris print in colored matte with broken glass embedded in Plexiglass

104 × 79 × 5 cm framed

Scale Prints: I.M. Pei, 1995

Archival digital print

53,5 × 43,5 × 4 cm framed

Scale Prints: Dictators, 1995

Archival digital print

50,9 × 40,7 cm; 53,7 × 43,3 cm framed

Scale Prints: Collector, 1995

Archival digital print

60,96 × 50,8 cm framed

Preadolescent Girl Horse Art (Black Beauty) I, 1995

C-print and graphite on matte board, silk scarf

69,22 × 89,54 cm frame; 132,08 x 89,54 x 71,12 cm approximate overall dimensions

Photo: Lorenzo Palmieri

Corner: Confessional, 1986

C-print with two-tone matte

52,07 × 62,23 cm framed

Corner: Pergamon Museum Center, 1986

C-print in two-tone matte

58,42 × 73,66 cm framed

The Complete Works of Barbara Bloom, 1989

Plexi display case, wood table and 38 books

Table: 40,64 x 121,92 x 101,6 cm; Plexi vitrine: 106,68 x 30,48 x 101,6 cm

Arno Light, 2007

Framed C-print, framed mirror and chandelier

94,3 × 64,8 × 2,5 cm 2 frames, each; chandelier: approx 57,15 in diameter

Safe, 1999

C-print, metal safe

48 × 58,5 cm (picture); 31 x 40 x 10 cm (safe)

public exhibitions

Hammer Museum

Los Angeles, California

Joan Didion: What She Means

11.10.2022 – 19.2.2023

Photo: Jeff McLane

Halle für Kunst Lüneburg

Lüneburg, Germany

Wagnis der Öffentlichkeit

31.10.2020 – 14.2.2021

Photo: Fred Dott

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Ridgefield, Connecticut

Weather Report

6.10.2019 – 23.8.2020

Photo: Jason Mandella

FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

Allen Memorial Art Museum

Oberlin, OH

FRONT Triennial

14.7 – 30.9.2018

Art Basel Unlimited

Basel

The Tip of the Iceberg, 1991

14.6 – 7.6.2018

Photo Simon Vogel

MOCA Pacific Design Center

Los Angeles, California

Décor: Barbara Bloom, Andrea Fraser, Louise Lawler

28.4 – 15.7.2018

Photo: Zak Kelley

The Jewish Museum

New York

As it were ... So to speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogue with Barbara Bloom

5.3 – 4.8.2013

Photo: David Heald

press

Infinite Regress

Evan Moffitt

Frieze

January–February 2021

The Theory

Barbara Bloom, Ben Lerner

Frieze

January-February 2021

A Room of Once Owned: How Arts’ Collection Has Informed Its Curation

Shiv Kotecha

Frieze

June 28, 2018

In pictures: must-see works at Art Basel's Unlimited

Emily Sharpe

The Art Newspaper

June 14, 2018

Barbara Bloom

Raffaella Cortese, Milan, Italy

Barbara Casavecchia

Frieze

February 13, 2016

Artist Project: Barbara Bloom

Susan Tallman

Frieze

April 2011

publications

Gold Custody

Barbara Bloom, Ben Lerner

Mack

2021

Gifts

Barbara Bloom

Ludion

Brussels

2015

As it were... So to speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogue with Barbara Bloom

The Jewish Museum

New York

2013

John Baldessari / Barbara Bloom

A.R.T. Press

New York

2011

The Collections Of Barbara Bloom

Susan Tallman and Dave Hickey

ICP/Steidl

Göttingen

2008

Ghost Writer – Und Wenn Sie Nicht Gestorben Sind

Barbara Bloom

Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD

Berlin

1988

video


Dia Talks – Barbara Bloom in Conversation with Kelly Kivland

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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