Collier Schorr (born 1963 in New York) is an American artist and fashion photographer best known for adolescent portraits that blend photographic realism with elements of fiction and youthful fantasy. Her work explores a multitude of themes, including history, nationality, and war, with an emphasis on identity and gender. Her influences include Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons, along with German and Jewish social history, World War II, wrestling, painter Andrew Wyeth, and German photographer August Sander.
Schorr grew up in Queens, New York and studied journalism at the School of Visual Arts. In the 1980s and 1990s she also worked actively as an art critic. Her photography work was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial and the 2003 International Center for Photography Triennial. In 2008 she received a Berlin Prize by the American Academy in Berlin. She currently resides in Brooklyn and spends her summers with family in Schwäbisch Gmünd, in Southern Germany.
Schorr is currently represented by the 303 Gallery in New York, New York, Stuart Shave/Modern Art in London, England, and the Gallerie Barbara Weiss in Berlin, Germany.
From the beginning of her photography career in 1986 to about 2014, Collier Schorr's work was primarily seen in a number of solo exhibitions, along with published books to aid in further exploration of various overarching themes.
By incorporating documentary, fantasy, and an occasional interweaving of different media, Schorr dissected the concepts behind identity politics in an age of feminism. She was heavily influenced by the androgyny of 1980s fashion, and utilized the momentum it generated to create art that drew upon elements of fashion photography while also interrogating other cultural boundaries. Though her recent work is featured in fashion magazines, her earlier photographs would easily fit there as well.
There I Was, a gallery show at the 303 Gallery in New York and book released in 2009, is a perfect example of Collier Schorr's abilities to push the limits of medium and perspective. Drawing on her experience with the drag car racer Charlie Snyder and his surprising death in Vietnam, Schorr questions everything regarding reportage, memory, and the inability to recreate the past. She combines drawings, photos, and cut-up magazines to create a collage of information that conveys her thoughts about the disconnect between the photograph, the viewer, and the subject.
Ultimately, Schorr's early work represents her exploration of feminism, identity, sexuality, and gender during a period wherein these concepts were being questioned on a larger cultural scale. Through her personal touches and combination of media, Schorr exalts the underrepresented to find her own place in society.
Although Schorr continues her exploration of adolescent androgyny, her photographic platform fully transitioned to popular fashion magazines by 2014. Her earliest fashion photography was featured in such publications as Purple Magazine and i-D, and focused on clothing rather than on artistic photography. Her later photography would combine the two by utilizing popular culture icons. She recently photographed newly famous adolescent actors Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown for Dazed magazine, highlighting their physical similarities. Other pop culture icons Schorr has worked with include Timothée Chalamet, Janelle Monáe, and Jodie Foster, and further explores androgyny and removes the subject from stereotypical depictions of gender.
Schorr's work expresses a viewpoint that is neither masculine nor heterosexual. Much of her work comes from a place of altering perception, either looking deeper into what is considered normal or altering the usual context of an idea in order to create commentary on the subject.
First exhibited at the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and then featured at the 303 Gallery in New York in 2003, Jens F. features a myriad of photographs, sketches, and notes regarding the image of a young German boy. Using Andrew Wyeth's depictions of the model Helga from the late 20th century as a template, Schorr depicts male Jens as an androgynous and emotional figure. The obvious juxtaposition of genders and the boy's acknowledging gaze conveys the idea that modern sexuality is being challenged with confidence.
Forests and Fields
After living in the small town of Schwabisch Gmund, Germany for 12 years, Schorr has created Forests and Fields in order to explore the composition of the environment, its inhabitants, and herself. The collection was first presented as a complete exhibition at the 303 Gallery in 2001, focusing on images that varied from young boys dressed in Nazi uniforms to deliberately designed still-lifes of nature. In a nod toward August Sander's 1930s work, Schorr later expanded the project into multiple books, each focusing on a different aspect of her overall idea.
Volume 1: Neighbors
Neighbors was published in 2006 as the first volume of Forests and Fields, and mainly focuses on ambiguous portraits. Schorr manipulates themes of nationality, identity, and history to create a scrapbook-like composition of images that toes the line between documentary and fantasy. An exhibition titled Badischer Kunstverein took place in 2007 to accompany this volume.
Volume 2: Blumen
Moving away from portraits, Blumen focuses on the German landscape. By manipulating small aspects about everyday natural objects, Schorr comments further on the relationships between the German town and the citizens themselves, all while adding in overtones of fantasy.
In 2002, Schorr visited Blairstown, New Jersey and West Point, New York to photograph their wrestling teams in action. Her goal in capturing these images of vulnerability, struggle, and pain was to reveal the undiscovered duality of wrestling. While being an undeniably masculine sport, it possesses romantic and feminine elements that push it into the realm of androgyny and gender fluidity. Schorr hopes to compile the photos into an art book titled Wrestlers Love America in the future.
8 Women was exhibited at the 303 Gallery in 2014, consisting of 14 works of eight women accumulated over the past twenty years. With a combination of head shots, full body nudes, action poses, and a drawing, Schorr conveys a sense of feminine power that neither objectifies the subjects nor dates the photos. By consistently incorporating elements of fashion photography, Schorr is able to comment on how representation and hyper-sexualization functions in both fashion and feminist culture today.
- Jens f.
Published November 2005
A compilation of photographs of a young boy developing into a man through poses similar to those of Andrew Wyeth’s painted Helga.
A historical and fictional story told through photographs about a small town in Germany where apparitions reside. She pieces together a tale of her own family tree through “memory, nationalism, war, emigration, and family”.
Photography critic/curator Vince Aletti’s amassed collection of work of male bodies with an essay from Collier Schorr, describing how these pieces have influenced her own work and the acceptance of gay men into art history.
- There I was
Using her father’s and Charlie Astoria Chas Snyder’s photos, her own sketches, and vintage car ads, Collier weaves together a story of the young drag racer’s death in Vietnam and the complexity of a photograph’s perspective.
Published January 2010
A second addition to her previous book about the small town in Germany, Neighbors. This focuses less on figures and more on the natural landscape of the village that Schorr has inhabited for the past 13 years.
- 8 Women
Published April 2014
A collection of her work from the mid-nineties to 2014, focusing on the female’s perspective of women “who want to be looked at”, like models, musicians, and artists.
- Collier Schorr: I Blame Jordan
A compilation of photographs taken of popular contemporary model Jordan Barrett for the MoMA PS1, which exhibits up and coming artists in the New York area.
- 1988 Cable Gallery, New York, NY
- 1990 Standard Graphik, Koln, Germany
- 1990 303 Gallery, New York, NY
- 1991 303 Gallery, New York, NY
- 1993 303 Gallery, New York, NY
- 1994 303 Gallery, New York, NY
- 1995 Galerie Drantmann, Brussels, Belgium
- 1997 303 Gallery, New York, NY
- 1997 Galerie Drantmann, Brussels, Belgium
- 1998 "Archipelago: New Rooms", Stockholm Kultur 98, Stockholm, Sweden
- 1999 303 Gallery, New York
- 1999 Georg Kargl, Vienna, Austria
- 1999 “Neue Soldaten”, Partobject Gallery, North Carolina
- 2000 Emily Tsingou Gallery, London, UK
- 2001 303 Gallery, New York, NY
- 2002 Consorcio Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
- 2003 Modern Art, London, UK
- 2004 Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway
- 2004 303 Gallery, New York
- 2005 “Jens F.”, Roth, New York
- 2006 "Other Women", Modern Art, London, UK
- 2007 Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany
- 2007 "Star Power: Museum as Body Electric; Jens F.", Museum of Contemporary Art
- 2007 Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO
- 2007 “There I Was”, 303 Gallery, New York
- 2008 Le Consortium, Dijon, France
- 2008 Villa Romana, Florence, Italy
- 2009 “Hier hielt die Welt den Atem an”, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Germany
- 2010 303 Gallery, New York
- 2010 Stuart Shave Modern Art, London
- 2010 Berardo Museum, Lisbon (curated by Sergio Mah as part of Photo España)
- 2010 NOT IN FASHION. Mode und Fotografie der 90er Jahre, Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt am Main.
- 2011 Ars Cameralis, Katowice, Poland
- 2011 "Collier Schorr: German Faces", CoCA Kronika, Bytom, Upper Silesia, Poland
- 2014 “8.5 Women”, Karma, New York
- 2014 "8 Women", 303 Gallery, New York
- 1987 303 Gallery, New York
- 1987 Galerie Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium
- 1988 "Collier Schorr, Brenda Miller, Svetlana Kapanskaya," Cable Gallery, New York
- 1988 "A Drawing Show," Cable Gallery, New York, curated by Jerry Saltz
- 1989 "After the Gold Rush," Milford Gallery, New York, curated by Howard Halle
- 1989 "Erotophobia," Simon Watson Gallery, New York
- 1989 New Langton Arts, San Francisco, CA
- 1990 "Commitment," The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada
- 1990 "All But the Obvious," Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA
- 1990 "In the Beginning," Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH
- 1991 "Something Pithier and More Psychological," Simon Watson Gallery, New York
- 1991 "New Work by Gallery Artists," 303 Gallery, New York
- 1991 "Gulliver's Travels,"Galerie Sophia Ungers, Koln, Germany
- 1991 "From Desire... A Queer Diary", curated by Nan Goldin, St. Lawrence College
- 1991 "Someone, Somebody," Meyers Bloom Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, curated by Simon Watson
- 1991 "The Subversive Stitch", Simon Watson Gallery, New York
- 1991 "When Objects Dream And Talk In Their Sleep", Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, NY
- 1991 "Liz Larner, Karen Kilimnik, Collier Schorr, Anne Walsh", Richard Kuhlenschmidt Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
- 1991 "Childs Play", "Steven Beyer, James Croak, Kate Moran, Collier Schorr", curated by Catherine Liu, Lawrence Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
- 1991 "All Grown Up", curated by Liz Dalton & Cindy Smith at CUNY, The Graduate Center in collaboration with Catherine Clarke, NY
- 1992 "Boys & Girls Together/ Recent Photography", Beaver College Art Gallery, Galerie Rizzo, Paris, France
- 1992 "The Edge of Childhood", Heckscher Museum, NY
- 1992 "Works on Paper", Stuart Regen Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
- 1992 "How It Is", curated by Jonathan Seliger, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY
- 1992 "One Leading to Another", 303 Gallery, New York, NY
- 1992 "Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience", Whitney Museum at the Equitable Center, New York, NY
- 1992 "MOCArt Auction '92", Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
- 1992 Benefit Auction, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY
- 1993 "The Subject of Rape", Whitney Museum of Art, New York
- 1993 "Uber Leben",Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany
- 1993 "Fall from Fashion", The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT
- 1993 "Everyday Life", curated by Simon Watson, Kim Light Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
- 1993 10 year anniversary exhibition, Monika Spruth, Koln, Germany
- 1994 "In The Fields", Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
- 1994 "Bespoke", Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
- 1994 "Stonewall", White Columns, New York, NY
- 1995 "Images of Masculinity", Victoria Miro Gallery, London
- 1995 "Narcissistic Disturbance", Otis Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, LA, CA
- 1995 "fag-o-sites", Gallery 400, Chicago, IL
- 1995 "La Belle et la Bete", curated by Lynn Gumpert, Musee d'Art de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
- 1995 "Portraits", Janice Guy Gallery, New York
- 1996 “Inbetweener", Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Scotland
- 1996 "Ideal Standard Life", Spiral Wacoal Art Center, Tokyo, Japan
- 1996 "Persona", Renaissance Society, Chicago, Illinois; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland
- 1996 Collier Schorr and Larry Clark, Galleri Index, Stockholm, Sweden
- 1996 Collier Schorr, Martin Honert, and Tom Gidley, curated by James Roberts, Entwistle Gallery, London
- 1996 "a/drift: Scenes from a Penetrable Culture", curated by Josh Decter, Bard
- 1996 Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Huson, New York
- 1998 Yesterday Begins Tomorrow: Ideals, Dreams, and the Contemporary Awakening”, Francesco Bonami, Center for Curatorial Studies, Fall Exhibition, Sept.-Dec.
- 1998 “Arkipelag”, Kultur 98, Stockholm, Sweden
- 1998 “From the Corner of the Eye”, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 1998 “Bathroom”, curated by Wayne Koestenbaum, Thomas Healy Gallery, New York, NY
- 1999 "Foul Play”, curated by Cheryl Kaplan and Asia Ingalls, Thread Waxing Space, New York, NY
- 2000 “Photography Now: An International Survey of Contemporary Photography”, curated by David S. Rubin, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
- 2000 “Presumed Innocent”, capcMusée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
- 2000 “Innuendo”, Dee Glasgoe, New York, NY
- 2000 “Prepared”, Georg Kargl Gallery, Vienna, Austria
- 2000 “Lightness”, curated by Amy Steigbigel, The Visual Arts Gallery, New York, NY
- 2001 “American Tableaux”, curated by Joan Rothfuss, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
- 2001 “Chick Clicks”, ICA Boston, Boston, MA, also at Fotomuseum in Winterhur, Switzerland
- 2001 “Uniform. Order and Disorder”, P.S. 1, New York, NY
- 2001 “Settings and Players: Theatrical Ambiguity in American Photography”, curated by Louise Neri, White Cube, London, U.K.
- 2001 29th International Film Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands
- 2002 "Screen Memories”, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito, Japan
- 2002 Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
- 2002 “Some Options in Realism”, Carpenter Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
- 2003 “Hovering”, curated by Daniele Balice and Anne du Boucheron, Peres Projects, Los Angeles
- 2003 “Terror Chic”, curated by Eva Karecher, Spruth Magers, Munich, Germany
- 2003 “Strangers”, Triennial of the International Center of Photography, New York, NY
- 2003 “Attack! Art and War in Times of the Media”, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
- 2004 “Opportunity and Regret”, Grazer, Kunstverein, Graz, Austria
- 2004 “The Muse”, Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York
- 2004 “Open House – Working in Brooklyn”, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York
- 2004 “Beyond Compare: Women Photographers on Beauty”, Toronto, Canada
- 2005 "Sport", Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY
- 2005 “The Forest: Politics, Poetics, and Practice,” Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina, curated by Kathy Goncharov.
- 2005 "Will Boys Be Boys? Questioning Masculinity in Contemporary Art", curated by Shamim Momin,The Salina Art Center, Salina Kansas; Museum of Contemporary
- 2006 “Human Game” curated by Fancesco Bonami, Fondazione Pitti, Stazione Leopolda, Florence, Italy
- 2006 “Youth of Today” Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
- 2006 "Modern Photographs: The Machine, The Body, The City", Miami Art Museum
- 2006 "Artist's Choice: Herzog & de Meuron, Perception Restrained", Museum of Modern Art, New York
- 2006 Art, Denver; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN
- 2006 “Seeing Double: Encounters with Warhol” The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
- 2007 “The Lost Paradise” Stiftung Opelvillen, Frankfurt, Germany
- 2007 “Memorial to the Iraq War”, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
- 2007 “Reality Bites: Making Avant-Garde Art in Post-Wall Germany” Sam Fox Art Center at Washington University, St Louis
- 2007 "Family Pictures, New Acquisitions", Guggenheim Museum, New York
- 2007 "Rebel Rebel: Remembering Karlheinz Weinberger", Anna Kustera, New York
- 2007 "History Will Repeat Itself" ,Hartware Medienkunstverein, Dortmund travels to KW Berlin, Germany
- 2008 “Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemproary American Photography”, the “Freeway Balconies: Contemporary American Art”, curated by Collier Schorr, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin 4
- 2008 "Listen Darling... The World is Yours", curated by Lisa Phillips, Ellipse Foundation, Cascais, Portugal
- 2008 “Hard Targets: Concepts of Masculinity in Sport” curated by Christopher Bedford, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
- 2009 National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
- 2009 Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain
- 2009 “Weird Beauty”, International Center of Photography
- 2009 “Mixed Signals”, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, Baltimore, Maryland, Karma International, Zurich
- 2010 “Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography”, Museum of Modern Art, New York
- 2010 “Not in Fashion: Mode und Fotografie”, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt
- 2010 “The Art of Camo”, Cardi Black Box, Milano
- 2010 “You and Now”, Balice Hertling, Paris
- 2011 “Transformed Land”, Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris
- 2011 “More American Photographs”, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, Istanbul Biennial, Turkey
- 2011 “History in Art”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland
- 2011 “Commercial Break”, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Venice
- 2012 Ambach & Rice, Los Angeles, CA
- 2012 Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 2012 “Myths and Realities”, School of Visual Arts – Visual Arts Gallery, New York, NY
- 2013 "More American Photographs", Wexner Center for the arts, Columbus, OH
- 2014 “1984-1999. The Decade” Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France
- 2014 "Better Than Before" Le Consortium, Dijon, France
- 2015 Camera of Wonders”, Centro de la Imágen, Mexico City, Mexico 2015 “Greater New York”, MoMA PS1, New York
- 2015 “No Man’s Land: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection”, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
- 2016 “Tough and Tender”, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia
- 2016 “Open? New Forms of Contemporary Image Production”, LUMA Arles, The Mecanique, Parc Des Ateliers, Arles, France 3
- 2016 “Still Life With Fish: Photography From The Collection”, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California
- 2016 “Sculpture”, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, California
- 2016 “RE-LIVED – Historical experience and Carnival”, MEWO Kunstalle, Memmingen, Germany
- 2016 “Systematically Open?”, Luma Foundation, Arles, France
- 2016 “Camera of Wonders (Reprint)”, Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellin, Colombia
- 2016 “Unclassified”, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia
- 2016 “The Female Gaze, Part II: Women Look at Men”, Cheim and Read, New York
- 2017 “The Canadian Biennial”, Nationial Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
- 2017 “Histórias de sexualidade”, MASP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- 2017 “20/20”, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, PA
- 2017 “The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin”, The Jewish Museum, New York, NY
- 2017 “Victors for Art”, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
- 2017 “March Madness”, Fort Gansevoort, New York, NY
- 2017 “Divided States of America”, The Center, New York, NY
- 2017 “Double Take”, Skarstedt, London, UK
- 2018 “A Page from My Intimate Journal (Part I)”, Gordon Robichaux, New York, NY
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