Nina Katchadourian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Monument to the Unelected", artist Nina Katchadourian, installed in storefront Washington Post 15th street, N.W. Washington, D.C.

Nina Katchadourian (Armenian: Նինա Խաչատուրյան; born 1968, Stanford, California) is an Armenian-American artist. She is known for conceptual works that explore themes of mapping, translation, and public space. A multimedia artist, she works across photography, sculpture, video, and sound—often in playful ways.[1]

Her projects have been exhibited widely, including a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in July 2008, the Turku Art Museum in Finland in January 2006, the ArtPace Foundation for Contemporary Art, and the forthcoming exhibition.[1]


Nina Katchadourian was born in Stanford, California in 1968, and grew up spending summers on a small island in the Finnish archipelago, where she still spends part of each year. She received a BA from Brown University in 1989, and an MFA from UCSD in 1993. She attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York City in 1996. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and is on the faculty at New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study.[2]


Nina Katchadourian has worked in many media, including sculpture, photography, video, and sound. The underlying concept is often marked by an intrinsic sense of humor, characterized by a whimsical, intelligent, ironic and systemic reordering of natural processes. Her work is simple yet effective.


Many of Katchadourian's pieces involve bringing a whimsical kind of order to the world. The "Sorted Books"[3] series, for instance, ranges from ephemeral and impromptu arrangements of volumes on the shelves of friends, to commissioned photographed orderings of books in museum and library collections. The body of work is available as a book[4] published by Chronicle Books.

Mended Spider Webs[edit]

Her "mended spider webs" series involves making careful but obvious "repairs" to the rips that occur in natural spiderwebs.[5] Using tweezers and glue she continued the pattern of the spider webs with starched bright red twine. The tools used to repair these spider webs can also be found in her "Do-it Yourself Spiderweb Repair Kit" piece, also part of the "Mended Spider Webs" series. While working on the series, Katchadourian became interested in how nature feels about humans attempt to 'help'. The next morning she found that the spiders did not appreciate her help. When she went out to the first spiderweb repair the following morning she found the red twine unraveled and lying on the ground below. The spiders had rejected her help and undone all of her work throughout the night. Katchadourian was able to capture the rejection process on tape in a 10 min video titles "GIFT/GIFT".[6]

Maps and Charts[edit]

In some cases, Katchadourian makes this obsession with order explicit, by working with maps and charts. Her "Family Tree" series creates faux genealogies for such objects as rocks and airplanes. Other pieces are literally made of the fragments of maps. Her "Coastal Merger" shows a map of the United States made of only the Eastern and Western seaboards; "Map Dissection I" cuts out only the streets from a standard-issue road atlas, and mounts them as a kind of arterial web on glass.


Katchadourian has brought her fascination with systems to public spaces as well. In CARPARK, a 1994 work at Southwestern College, she sorted by color vast numbers of cars in more than a dozen parking lots.[7] In 2006, in a project sponsored by the Public Art Fund, Katchadourian installed a telescope on a Manhattan street corner, focused on a 17th-floor office of a nearby building. During the course of the project, the lawyer who inhabited the office would arrange objects on his window sill to send coded messages to the observer.[8]

Museum Interventions[edit]

Crumpled microfiber dust wipe printed with an image of dust in a museum space and bearing the logo for the MoMA Artists Experiment program. An associated art label reads: "Also part of the Artists Experiment program, Katchadourian investigates the theme of dust, exemplified by this cloth printed with an image from the MoMA galleries."
A promotional dust wipe produced during Dust Gathering's planning, as displayed in the 2015 exhibition Messing with MoMA

In 2015, the Museum of Modern Art invited Katchadourian to produce a work under its Artists Experiment program, in which contemporary artists create or perform pieces reflecting upon or utilizing museum resources.[9] Having noticed the immense quantity of dust which collected in various locations around the museum’s architecture and on artworks within its collection, Katchadourian produced a series of audio segments[10] for the museum's existing audio guide program which toured visitors through a series of stops where dust commonly collected, and featured interviews with various MoMA staff on their methodologies and experiences dealing with dust in the museum. The audio tour became available in October 2016, and is schedule to run through April 2017.[11]


Katchadourian is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco.


  1. ^ a b "Nina Katchadourian | Exploratorium". Exploratorium. 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2017-03-25. 
  2. ^ "NYU | Gallatin Nina Katchadourian". New York University. March 25, 2017. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Nina Katchadourian". Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  4. ^ "Sorted Books". Chronicle Books. Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  5. ^ Nina Katchadourian
  6. ^ Moody, Tom (1999). "Nina Katchadourian: DEBS & CO." (PDF). ArtForum. xxxvii (10) – via 
  7. ^ Found In Translation ArtReview, April 2008, p. 68.
  8. ^ Watch That Space: The Oracle of the 17th Floor The New York Times, Randy Kennedy, Nov. 21, 2006.
  9. ^ "MoMA | Artists as Houseguests: Artists Experiment at MoMA". Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  10. ^ "Dust Gathering: An Audio+ Experience by Nina Katchadourian | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-03-28. 
  11. ^ "Dust Gathering: An Audio+ Experience by Nina Katchadourian | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 

External links[edit]