Name Barbara Bloom
Period The Pictures Generation
|Born 1951Los Angeles, California|
Education California Institute of the Arts (1972)
Books As It Were ... So to Speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogue with Barbara Bloom
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
Similar People Matt Mullican, Dominic van den Boogerd, Jules de Balincourt, Mary Heilmann, Peter Noever
Barbara Bloom (born 1951, in Los Angeles) is a conceptual artist. She works in a wide range of media and is most known for her installation works that have been exhibited internationally. Bloom is loosely connected to a group of artists referred to as The Pictures Generation. For nearly twenty years she lived in Europe, first in Amsterdam then Berlin. She now lives in New York City with her husband, the writer-composer Chris Mann, and their daughter.
Bloom attended Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, and in 1972 received her BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California where her mentor was John Baldessari.
Beginning in the 1970s, Bloom has created work in a variety of different mediums including photography, installation, film, and books.
In conversation with Susan Tallman, Barbara Bloom has referred to herself as a “novelist who somehow ended up in a ‘visual artist’ queue”. Bloom has often compared herself, and the viewer of her work, to a 'detective' who is confronted with disparate clues, and is asked to form some kind of visual narrative. Her work is often about the nature of looking. She engages her viewer, seducing him/her into a beautifully constructed visual world, one that is underlaid by subversive wrenches thrown in.
Bloom has an ongoing interest in the value and meaning we collectively and individually bestow upon objects and images. She has not been concerned with showing single objects or images, rather with highlighting the relationships between them, and the meanings implicit in their placement and combination. The objects are placeholders for thoughts, and when they are situated in proximity to one another, meanings can reverberate and ricochet off of each other. Additionally, Bloom states in an artist's statement that her "fascination is with the relationships between objects or images—and the meanings implicit in their placement and combination."
Bloom’s use of shadows, traces, Braille, broken objects, watermarks, micro-images all demonstrate an ongoing interest in visualizing the fragile workings of memory, the invisible, the ephemeral, and the absent. These “aesthetic underdogs, sheltered under BB’s wing [...] provide yet another lens for looking at how we seek value in objects and why.”
Bloom’s work has been shown widely including exhibitions at: Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Venice Biennale; Kunstverein München, Munich; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; The Serpentine Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Zürich; Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Leo Castelli Gallery, New York; SITE Santa Fe; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; La Bienale de Venezuela, Caracas; Museum Friedricianum, Kassel; Parrish Art Museum, Southampton; Wexner Center for the Arts; Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum; International Center of Photography, New York; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; The Jewish Museum, New York.
Barbara Bloom’s works are featured in a variety of public collections including: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MAK Museum of Applied Art, Vienna; International Center of Photography, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Groninger Museum, The Netherlands; Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan, the CU Art Museum at the University of Colorado Boulder, among others.
Bloom has held teaching positions at: Cooper Union School of Art, New York; ICP-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies; Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University; Columbia University-School of the Arts; Yale University- Graduate Department of Sculpture; School of Visual Arts, New York, Riksakademie voor Beeldende Kunst, Amsterdam.