Lucas Samaras

b. 1936

Lucas Samaras (b. 1936, Kastoria, Greece) is a Greek artist best known for his photography, but his diverse practice also includes painting, sculpture, printmaking, performance, and installation art. In his photography, Samaras obsessively investigates his self-image, typically involving distortion or other transformations through digital and material processes. By simultaneously playing the observer and the observed, Samaras extends the Surrealist exploration of sexuality, terror, mortality, and metamorphosis, in a conscious effort to undermine the viewer. Lush textures and seductive colours are integral to Samaras’ work whatever the media employed, as means of throwing us off balance.


Samaras moved to New York in 1948, and graduated from Rutgers University College of Arts and Sciences, New Jersey, in 1959. During this time he was closely involved with the ‘happenings’ of Allan Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg, among others. His first solo exhibition in New York was held at the Reuben Gallery in 1959. His work is in the collections of many international museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Gallery, London, and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. His first retrospective was in 1972 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Other major solo exhibitions include Pace Gallery, New York (1974), Denver Art Museum, Denver (1981–83), Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama (1991), Galerie Xippas Paris, France (1997), and Waddington Galleries, London (2004). A major exhibition of his self-portraits opened at the Whitney Museum in 2003. He was the 2002 winner of the American Academy Award in Art. In 2009, Samaras represented Greece at the Venice Biennale with an exhibition that spanned four decades of his practice.


Lucas Samaras lives and works in New York City.

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