Diana Thater

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Diana Thater
BornMay 14, 1962
San Francisco
EducationNew York University
Known forFilm, Video art, Installation art
AwardsJohn Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts fellowship

Diana Thater (born May 14, 1962, in San Francisco) is an American artist, curator, writer, and educator. She has been a pioneering creator of film, video, and installation art since the early 1990s. She lives and works in Los Angeles, California.[1]


Thater studied Art History at New York University and earned her BA in 1984.[2] In 1990 she was awarded an MFA from Art Center College of Design.[2]


Thater’s work explores the temporal qualities of video and film while literally expanding it into space. She is best known for her site-specific installations in which she manipulates architectural space through forced interaction with projected images and tinted light, such as knots + surfaces (2001) and Delphine (1999) in the Kulturkirche St. Stephani (2009) and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2010).

Thater’s primary interest lies in exploring the relationship between humans and the natural world and the distinctions between untouched and manipulated nature. Despite nods to structural film, Thater's underlying reference points are closer to panoramic landscape painting.[3] Thater’s stated belief is that film and video are not by definition narrative media, and that abstraction can, and does exist in representational moving images.[4]


Since her first solo show in 1991, Thater has exhibited widely throughout North America and Europe, with one-person exhibitions at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane (2011), the Santa Monica Museum of Art (2010),[5] Kunsthaus Graz in collaboration with London's Natural History Museum (2009), Dia Center for the Arts (2001), Vienna Secession (2000), The Museum of Modern Art (1998),[6] MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles (1998), the Walker Art Center (1997), the Kunsthalle Basel (1996), Salzburger Kunstverein (1996), The Renaissance Society (1995), and the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (1994), among many others. In March 2004, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen and the Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany opened a simultaneous two-museum survey exhibition of her work from 1993 to 2003.

Her numerous group exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial (2006, 1997, 1995) and the Carnegie International (1999).

Since 2000, Thater has been the artist-in-residence for The Dolphin Project, a non-profit organization that protects cetaceans from slaughter, captivity, and abuse. In 2009, Diana Thater taught art at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.[1]

The artist is represented by David Zwirner, New York.


In 2011, Thater received an Award for Artistic Innovation from the Center for Cultural Innovation in Los Angeles.[7] She used the grant to complete Chernobyl, a large-scale installation project which documents the post-human landscape at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant site in the Ukraine, marking the 25th anniversary of the explosion in 2011.[8] She has been the recipient of other notable awards, including the Phelan Award in Film and Video (2006), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2005),[9] an Étant-donnés Foundation Grant (1996), and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1993).

Collections (selection)[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Diana Thater Faculty Page at European Graduate School (Biography, bibliography and video lectures)". European Graduate School. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  2. ^ a b The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2011.
  3. ^ Liz Kotz in Zoya Kocur, Simon Leung, Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985, Blackwell Publishing, 2005, p104. ISBN 0-631-22867-5
  4. ^ David Zwirner
  5. ^ Diana Thater: Between Science and Magic at the Santa Monica Museum of Art
  6. ^ moma.org
  7. ^ Center for Cultural Innovation Press Release
  8. ^ Diana Thater - Center for Cultural Innovation
  9. ^ gf.org Archived 2006-04-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Permanent Collection. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
  11. ^ Guggenheim Collection Selection (Late and Soon, Occident Trotting, 1993)
  12. ^ Tate acquires major gift of new media works with US museums. Tate press release. January 23, 2007. (Accessed Jan 3, 2008).
  13. ^ Walker Art Center. Collections and Resources

External links[edit]