Nina Katchadourian

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"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. Her projects have been exhibited widely, including a solo show of video installations at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in July 2008.


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 in 1996. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


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" 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. Her "mended spider webs" series involves making careful but obvious "repairs" to the rips that occur in natural spiderwebs.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]


Katchadourian is represented by Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco.


  1. ^ Nina Katchadourian
  2. ^ Found In Translation ArtReview, April 2008, p. 68.
  3. ^ Watch That Space: The Oracle of the 17th Floor The New York Times, Randy Kennedy, Nov. 21, 2006.

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