Apr 4, 2014

Talk Tompkins opens

Talk Tompkins is a group of 24 portraits of and interviews with people from my home county in upstate New York - a voyage of discovery in the place where I live.

It is part of the Tompkins County Public Library's Sesquicentennial 150 Years and Counting at the library on Green street in Ithaca, N.Y.The show opens Friday April 4th, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and will be up for three months.

One portrait from the series was "best in show" at Ithaca's State of the Art Gallery's 25th Juried Photography Invitational last month.

Feb 24, 2014

Three Group Shows

News of three exhibits that include my work

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Carla Rae Johnson  Archival Inkjet Print  33 x 26 inches

I'm delighted that Rob Knight of Hamilton College has included six photograph-and-audio-interview portraits from my project Say Peekskill in Social Portraits: Six Photographers. He co-curated the show with Gina Murtagh for the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton, NY. The show runs February 6, to March 29. The reception will be on Sunday March 2, 3-5 p.m. If you're visiting, don't miss the excellent shows also co-curated by Rob at Hamilton's nearby Wellin Gallery.

Two group shows accepted one piece each from my Sites/Sights series:

at Project Basho in Philadephia opens March 1, 6-9 p.m;

The National: Best Contemporary Photography 2014 at the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Museum of Art runs March 29 to June 15.

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Entrance to Auschwitz II-Birkenau Death Camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Memorial and Museum, Oswiecim, Republic of Poland   
Archival Inkjet Print   22 x 28 inches

Dec 10, 2013

Nice Review of Troy Show

Amy Griffin gave 2x2 Collective: double consciousness a thoughtful review in the Albany Times Union, published in print on Sunday December 8, 2013. Thanks, Amy!

The blog and pages about the show can be found here.

Portrait of the Artist as a White Man   Archival inkjet print, wood, wire, cement blocks

Nov 17, 2013

Opening of Illusive Self

Illusive Self at Taller Boricua, Lexington at 106th in New York City, opened on Friday evening, November 15th. The show explores the experience of immigration. Curated by Berette MacCaulay, it's a powerful and thoughtful show with a very diverse group of artists. Open until 1/1/2014. Here's a quick iPhone pic of my installation of photographs and interviews.

Oct 28, 2013

First Pictures from 2x2 Collective/double consciousness

A couple of views of 2x2 Collective/double consciousness, which opened Friday October 25th at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, in Troy, NY. More soon... Show runs through December 21st., 2013

Showing work by, from left to right, Maria Driscoll McMahon, Sandra Stephens, Carla Rae Johnson, Ben Altman, Carla Rae Johnson

Sites/Sights on LENSCRATCH

I'm delighted that Lenscratch, an excellent online photography magazine, has featured my project Sites/Sights. You can see it at:


These are photographs I did earlier this year, during some extended travels. I visited sites of atrocity and mass murder, along with memorials, monuments and museums to and about such events, their victims and their perpetrators. My method was to sneak up behind other visitors (with a vintage large-format press camera) to photograph them and the image on their camera or cell-phone. Remarkably, my subjects rarely noticed me. Work on the project continues.

Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. Potočari, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sep 26, 2013

Upcoming Show with 2X2

2X2 Collective:double consciousness

2x2 Collective (Sandra Stephens, Maria Driscoll McMahon and Ben Altman) will show with guest artist Carla Rae Johnson at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY. The show opens October 25, 2013. Exploring the theme of double consciousness, we will show individual pieces and collaborate in pairs on new work.

Some nice press in the Wall Street Journal International Magazine

New Project - Sites/Sights

For Sites/Sights I traveled to monuments, memorials, and places of atrocity in multiple countries. The work questions how to think about the histories these places represent, the ways such events are represented, and our ways of connecting - or avoiding connection - to them. To see the series click here or on the link to the left.

Ryozen Kannon Memorial to the Dead of the Pacific War.  Kyoto, Japan

Apr 2, 2013


I worked on several projects in process while I traveled for six months this year with my wife, who has a well-earned sabbatical. Some are new, some ongoing. Sites/Sights is here. A taste of another project is on this page.

Updated September, 2013

Jan 12, 2013

"Say Peekskill" - part of Peekskill Project V - the show installed

This is one section of the gallery space at the Field Library in Peekskill, New York. There are 21 panels with 25 portraits of residents, three CD stereos playing interviews with them about living in the town, and a computer station where you can hear the interviews on headphones.

More information here or use the link at left.

Click on this link to see and hear the archive of all the photos and interviews

Peekskill Project V: A Citywide festival of Contemporary Art is organized by the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (HVCCA).

Nov 13, 2012

First Outing for the Digging Project

The More That Is Taken Away, my long-term project to dig a mass-grave-for-one in my own back yard, can be seen as a work-in-progress at the School of Art gallery, Pratt at Munson Williams Proctor, Utica, NY.  It features video on nine screens from the year-plus project. Six black and white photographs show the patterns I created in the ground in the course of the excavation. A large wooden box contains two near life-size photographs of me in the pit; visitors are invited to sprinkle dirt on the images.

A few minutes record of the video display can be seen here.

A short synopsis of the first six months of the project is here.

The show is open until December 14, 2012. Digging continues... expect developments in the project and in its presentation.

More information: link at left and at the Artspire directory

Oct 7, 2012

Busy, busy... Posted October 7, 2012


The More That Is Taken Away, my on-going extended multi-disciplinary video installation is now a fiscally sponsored project of ARTSPIRE, a program of NYFA, the New York Foundation for the Arts. This means donations to the project are tax-deductible. ARTSPIRE provides a variety of very useful support services.

I currently have work showing at

ArtRage, Syracuse, NY: This four-person show is part of TONY:2012, a biennial of 14 venues, anchored by the Everson Museum. Four pieces from Guantanamo Basement plus a 12-foot print of Squad #2. (until October 27). Artist Panel at ArtRage, Wednesday 10/10/2012, 7:00 p.m.

City Without Walls, Newark, NJ (cWOW): Constructed Ambiguity, curated by Gary Schneider. A 66" x 42" print of False Horizon #9. Until October 27.

Collaborative Concepts: The Farm Project 2012, Saunders Farm, Garrison, NY. I built DreamSofa 4 in a spot with a great view, mostly from stone found at the farm and driftwood from the Hudson river. Use it, change it, send me photos!

Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca, NY: Drawing on Democracy, curated by Terry Plater. My piece is Citizens Are Encouraged To Use The Pencils Provided. Ends this Tuesday, October 9th! Hurry in and deface my art!

Greene County Council for the Arts, Catskill, NY: MARK on MAIN. Two pieces from Memory Mechanism.  Unitl October 31.

Coming up

Pratt MWPAI School of Art Gallery, Utica, NY: Figure Drawing, curated by Sandra Stephens - a three-person show with Maria McMahon and Christine Heller. I'll be showing a work-in-progress version of The More That Is Taken Away. November 9 to December 14.

Peekskill Project V, Peekskill, NY: My project, Say Peekskill, an installation of audio interviews and portrait photographs of Peekskill residents, will be at the Field Library, opening early January 2013.

Aug 18, 2012

CItizens are Encouraged... Posted August 18, 2012

Mutiple projects happening at the moment... here's one that is currently open -

at Tompkins County Public Library. It's an interactive piece:

Citizens are Encouraged to Use the Pencils Provided.

The photographs are self-portraits in poses suggestive of a riot squad and pepper-sprayed and arrested demmonstrators. Pencils and stamp pads are provided (hanging on the strings) for visitors to add drawings, writing, and fingerprints. The red flash cards are adapted from the the civics test I took as part of my recent naturalization as a U.S. citizen. Response has been great - lots of stuff. A public library is an excellent location for this piece, which is part of Drawing on Democracy, curated by Terry Plater.

More at the blog: http://thepencilsprovided.blogspot.com/

May 17, 2012

Good news: grants! - Posted May 17, 2012

I just found out that I'm getting a grant for The More That Is Taken Away, my long digging/video/installation project. It's a New York State Council on the Arts' Electronic Media and Film Finishing Funds grant. I applied for the maximum they give and the request was fully funded. A big boost!

I also got partially funded with a small NYFA/NYSCA Strategic Opportunity Stipend for showing my Guantanamo Basement work at the Syracuse Biennial: The Other New York 2012, coming up this Fall.

May 7, 2012

Back to digging - posted May 7, 2012

skin hides at Gallery Aferro is over, but you can see photos and video from the the show at the blog. There are also pages for each artist; mine is here.

Back at home, I'm working on my long-term video performance, The More That Is Taken Away. I'm hand-digging a big hole in the field behind my house, building a tower, and making photographs as I go. The current compiliation of short clips from the video (up to the late-April snowstorm and featuring a cameo appearance by my son Toby) is here.

Below, a photo by Neil Chowdhury of me at the diggings. This portrait will appear with work we and two others will have at ArtRage - The Norton Putter Gallery this fall in Syracuse, NY, as part of TONY 2012, the Syracuse biennial anchored by the Everson Museum. I'll be showing four pieces from Guantanamo Basement, my work about enhanced interrogation.

                  Photograph: Neil Chowdhury

Mar 12, 2012

skin hides now open! posted March 12, 2012

skin hides, my show as part of 2x2 Collective, opened Saturday night at Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street, Newark, N J. Show looks great. Working on documentation... show runs through April 14, open 12-6, Thu, Fri, Sat, and by appointment.


Feb 8, 2012

Residency at Sculpture Space - posted February 8, 2012

Busy at Sculpture Space in Utica, NY putting together a show for Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ.

Opening is March 10th. Closing April 14th.

Show is with 2x2 Collective, and is called skin hides.

Dec 31, 2011

Lots Happening

Starting a two-month residency at Scultpure Space in Utica, NY with my collective,  2X2Collective on January 4th .

Looks like we (2X2) may have a show in March - will confirm soon.

My scarf swap participants have all met and exchanged scarves, life stories, and gossip. I'll add a post to that blog soon.

I'm doing a long term (many months) performance in my back yard, recorded on video and in photographs. It involves digging a huge pit and then filling it back in. Final piece will be a mixed-media installation.

I'll have some of my Guantanamo Basement series in the Syracuse, NY, Biennial "The Other New York", Sept-Nov 2012.