Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Known for||Photography, Video, Writing|
Moyra Davey (born 1958) is a Canadian visual artist. Over the past three decades, Davey has built an increasingly influential body of work composed of photographs, writings, and video. As opposed to a current predilection for large-scale, digitally manipulated photographs, her seemingly modest works reclaim a practice of photography grown out of contingency and accident. Her camera often turns towards the unseen or the overlooked, as her subjects include dust, books, records, coins, empty whiskey bottles, coffee cups, gravestones, and people writing on the subway. Her practice presents a wide-ranging model of engagement with the world: a reflection on possibilities of producing and consuming, on writing and reading, on novelty and obsolescence, and on the future of images amidst an economy of profuse reproduction.
She currently lives and works in New York City and is a faculty member at the Bard College International Center of Photography Program. Her work, "Copperheads", has been exhibited at the Guggenheim in New York City.
Moyra Davey was born in 1958 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Davey began taking photographs as a teenager in an improvised darkroom in a closet making, quote: “lots (of) solarized, hippie-looking stuff.”  She initially attended art school for drawing and painting but dropped out after a year, later enlisting in the design program and finally photography at Concordia University in Montreal. Moyra Davey received a BFA from Concordia University in 1982 and a MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 1988. In 1989, she moved to New York and attended The Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program.
Davey exhibited throughout the 1990s with Colin de Land’s gallery American Fine Arts Co., and from 2005-2008, she was a partner in the influential gallery Orchard. In 2008, Davey was the subject of a major survey at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, which coincided with the publication of Long Life Cool White, a monograph of her photographs and writings on photography. A survey of her work was on view the summer 2010 at the Kunsthalle Basel; this was her first solo exhibition in Europe, and marked the publication of an extensive catalogue on her work, with essays by George Baker, Bill Horrigan, Eric Rosenberg, and Chris Kraus.
Burn the Diaries, Davey’s solo exhibition of new work, was first exhibited at MUMOK, Vienna, and later on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia through December 2014. The exhibition was accompanied by a new publication. In April 2014, the Camden Arts Centre, London, mounted a large-scale survey exhibition of Davey’s work. In 2013, she had had solo exhibitions at the Tate Liverpool and Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver. Davey’s work was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial and in the 2012 São Paulo Biennial. Her work has been included in recent group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, the Art Institute of Chicago, the CCS Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, amongst others.
Important exemplars of Davey’s works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the National Galley of Art, Washington, DC; and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
- 2018 Hell Notes, Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld // "1943", Galerie Buchholz, New York
- 2017 Empties, Galerie Buchholz, Cologne // Portrait / Landscape, Galerie Buchholz, Berlin // Hell Notes, Portikus, Frankfurt
- 2016 Hemlock Forest, Bergen Kunsthall, Norway // 7 Albums, Murray Guy, New York
- 2015 You're a nice guy to let me hold you like this. greengrassi, London // The Revenants, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam
- 2014 Ornament and Reproach, Murray Guy, New York // Burn the Diaries, MUMOK — Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; // Camden Arts Centre, London
- 2013 Ornament and Reproach, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver // Hangmen of England, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
- 2012 Spleen. Indolence. Torpor. Ill-humour, Murray Guy, New York
- 2011 Les Goddesses, Greengrassi, London
- 2010 Speaker Receiver, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland // My Necropolis, Goodwater, Toronto // My Necropolis, lllingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art + Design, Canada
- 2009 My Necropolis, Murray Guy, New York  // My Necropolis, Arch II Gallery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
- 2008 Long Life Cool White, The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
- 2007 Fifty Minutes, Goodwater, Toronto // My Place, TART, San Francisco, CA
- 2006 Monologues (with Julia Scher), Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH 
- 2003 American Fine Arts, Co., New York
- 2002 Goodwater, Toronto
- 1999 American Fine Arts, Co., New York
- 1998 Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA
- 1996 American Fine Arts, Co., New York
- 1994 Moyra Davey, Peter Doig, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York // American Fine Arts, Co., New York
- 1989 Optica, Montreal
- 1985 Agnes Etherington Arts Center, Kingston, Ontario
- 1984 The Photography Gallery, Toronto // Saw Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
Prizes and awards
- 2018 Scotiabank Photography Award
- 2010 The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award
- 2008 International Residencies Program, Cité des Arts, Paris, September 2008
- 2004 Anonymous Was a Woman
- 1995 Canada Council B-Grant, Art Matters Fellowship
- 1992 Canada Council Project Grant
- 1988 Canada Council Project Grant, Art Matters Fellowship
- 1987 Canada Council B-Grant
- 1985 Canada Council Project Grant, Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assist
- 1984 Ontario Arts Council A-Grant
- 1983 Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Assist, Canada Council Short Term Grant
- 1982 Canada Council Short Term Grant
- Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
- The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
- Canada Art Bank Collection
- Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
- The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge
- Foundation 20/21, New York
- Fondation Stichting A, Brussels
- Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
- Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis
- The Museum of Modern Art, New York
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
- Tate Modern, London
- Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
- Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
- The National Gallery of Art, Washington
- National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
- Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
- Les Goddesses / Hemlock Forest. Brooklyn: Dancing Foxes Press, 2017. ISBN 9780998632605
- The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art
- I'm Your Fan. London: Camden Arts Centre, 2014
- Burn the Diaries. Brooklyn: Dancing Foxes, 2014 ISBN 9780985337728
- Empties. Vancouver: Presentation House, 2013.
- The Wet and the Dry, Paris: Paraguay Press, 2011. Edited by castillo/corrales and Will Holder; ISBN 9782918252115
- Galerie J Chronology, Boabooks, 2011. ISBN 9782940409280
- Speaker Receiver, Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010. Essays by George Baker, Bill Horrigan, Chris Kraus, and Eric Rosenberg, and an interview by Adam Szymczyk; ISBN 9781934105207.
- Copperheads. Toronto: Byewater Bros. Editions, 2010. ISBN 9780978078935
- Long Life Cool White: Photographs and Essays by Moyra Davey. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Art Museums; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. Introduction by Helen Molesworth. ISBN 9780300136463
- The Problem of Reading. Los Angeles: Documents Books, 2003. ISBN 0974260509 
- Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001. ISBN 1583220720
- Woman of Letters, Text and narration by Quinn Latimer.
- Guest lecture at Emily Carr University, 2013
- Whitney Biennial Interview, 2012
- Bienal de São Paulo Interview, 2012
- Guest lecture at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Boston, 2012
- Conversations at the Edge at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2010
- Bard College International Center of Photography
- Davey, Moyra (2010). Coins, American -- Pictorial works. Toronto : Bywater Bros., 2010.
- "Copperheads No. 57". Guggenheim Collection Online. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- "Moyra Davey" Archived October 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., The Whitney Museum of American Art, Retrieved 23 November 2014.
- Interview with Jess T. Dugan for Big Red and Shiny online art journal Archived March 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- Exhibition : Ornament and Reproach, Murray Guy, New York, 2014
- Exhibition : Spleen. Indolence. Torpor. Ill-humor, Murray Guy, New York, 2012 
- Exhibition : Les Goddesses, Greengrassi, London, 2011
- Exhibition : Speaker Receiver, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland, 2010 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
- Exhibition : My Necropolis, Goodwater, Toronto, 2010
- Exhibition : My Necropolis, Murray Guy, New York, 2009
- Exhibition : Long Life Cool White, The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2008 Archived March 17, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- Exhibition : Fifty Minutes, Goodwater, Toronto, 2007
- Exhibition : Monologues (with Julia Scher), Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, 2006
- Murray Guy Gallery website
- Greengrassi Gallery website
- Greenough, Sarah; Nelson, Andrea; Kennel, Sarah; Waggoner, Diane; Ureña, Leslie (2015). The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art. ISBN 978-0500544495.
- The Problem of Reading available online at Murray Guy Gallery's website
- http://www.bard.edu/academics/faculty/faculty.php?action=details&id=1461 see bard’s ICP Program
- 2014 Bomb Magazine interview of Moyra Davey by Elisabeth Lebovici