Susan Mikula

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Susan Mikula
Born (1958-03-07) March 7, 1958 (age 65)
EducationHampshire College
Known forPhotography
PartnerRachel Maddow (1999–present)

Susan Mikula (born March 7, 1958) is an American artist and photographer. After years working in the art industry and serving on an art jury, Mikula had her first solo photography exhibition in 1998. She uses older technology to produce her photographs, including pinhole cameras and Polaroid cameras. Mikula is the longtime partner of political commentator Rachel Maddow.

Early life and education[edit]

Susan Mikula was born in New Jersey before relocating to New Hampshire at a young age.[1][2] She taught herself photography at an early age. She attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.[3]


Mikula spent several years in the art industry, including a stint on an art jury. In 1998, she landed her first solo exhibition. Her published landscape photography collections have been displayed in both solo and group exhibitions in New York City, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.[4] Mikula exhibited "large-scale digital Duraflex prints" at the New York State House in 2007. In 2008, she opened her first show in New York.[5] Mikula had an exhibition in 2009 at the TJ Walton Gallery in Provincetown with Rachel Maddow and Suzanne Westenhoefer attending.[6] In 2010, Mikula had her first photography show, American Device Recent Photographs, in San Francisco.[7][8] A year later, Mikula released a three part industrial landscape series titled American Bond. These American vistas spanned images of America from Texas to California to Massachusetts.[9] Her 2013 series, u.X, were inspired by the Lascaux cave paintings.[10] In 2015, Mikula released a series of psychologically enigmatic pigment prints titled Photo Book.[11] Mikula's more Pittsfield focused photograph galleries were also on display at the Ferrin Gallery.[12][13] Since 2017, Mikula has been a part of the Art in Embassies program for United States Consulate in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, doing site specific works for the organization.[14] Some of Mikula's works were purchased by the United States Embassy Art in Embassies (Nuevo Laredo Mexico) for their Permanent Collections.[15]



Mikula is interested in the movement of light and time.[2] She uses older technology to produce her photographs. Among her tools are pinhole cameras and Polaroid cameras.[4]


Mikula finds inspiration from painters. In an interview with The Advocate, she listed the following artists specifically: Julian Schnabel, Joan Mitchell, Cy Twombly, Gerhard Richter, Agnes Martin. Some of her local influences include Maggie Mailer, Charlie Hunter, TJ Walton, and Ward Schumaker.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Mikula is the longtime partner of current MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow.[16][17] They met in 1999 while Maddow was working on her doctoral dissertation.[18] Mikula hired Maddow to work on her yard and they went on to date.[18] Their first date was at the "Ladies Day on the Range" event hosted by the National Rifle Association.[19] They reside in a pre-Civil War farmhouse in Western Massachusetts and an apartment in the West Village, Manhattan.[20]

In November 2020, Rachel Maddow revealed that Mikula had COVID-19, and subsequently recovered.[21]

Mikula's sister is a medical photographer in Boston.[1]


  • Mikula, Susan (2008). Susan Mikula: Photographs. Luxxus Press.
  • Mikula, Susan (2011). Susan Mikula: American Bond. George Lawson Art Gallery. ISBN 9781450791168. OCLC 793125803.
  • Mikula, Susan (2013). Susan Mikula: u.X. George Lawson Gallery. OCLC 971505175.
  • Mikula, Susan (2017). Susan Mikula: Kilo.


  1. ^ a b King, Loren (2009-10-22). "PINHOLE ORIENTATION: MIKULA'S DREAM-LIKE ABSTRACTS ARE MEANT TO BE UNSETTLING". Provincetown Banner. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Harrity, Christopher (2011-10-22). "Artist Spotlight Susan Mikula". Advocate. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  3. ^ "About Alums: "9 Portraits" by Susan Mikula (76F)". Hampshire Edu Newsletter. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b Mazak, Cheryl (1 March 2010). "Art and artifact: photographer Susan Mikula uses tools from the past to make art for today". Curve. Archived from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018 – via HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ "Big shot". The Boston Globe. 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2018-09-10 – via
  6. ^ "Maddow makes exhibit". The Boston Globe. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2018-09-10 – via
  7. ^ "Susan Mikula Finds Beauty in America". The Advocate. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Refined Beauty Artist Susan Mikula on Finding Beauty in Industry, exclusive". Pride Online. 23 February 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Susan Mikula: American Bond". Artweek LA. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  10. ^ Cunningham, Caroline (September 2013). "Artist Susan Mikula: Polaroid Moments - New England Home Magazine". New England Home. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  11. ^ "Susan Mikula master at the sucker punch". SF Gate. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Susan Mikula Show opens at Ferrin Gallery". Rural Intelligence. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Jacob's Pillow kicked off its season with an opening gala". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Susan Mikula Bio". George Lawson Gallery.
  15. ^ William, Baczek. "Congratulations to Susan Mikula, whose photographs we exhibited at Pulse Art Fair Miami. on the Cruising Cloud—/The interdicted Land". WbFine Arts. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  16. ^ "The Secret to Rachel Maddow's Success". NY Mag. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Rachel Maddow & Susan Mikula At Home In Massachusetts". Huffington Post. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Rachel Maddow, storyteller and gun lover are". CBS News. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  19. ^ "A little about Maddow, Hannity". Tampa Bay Times. 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2018-09-10 – via
  20. ^ Goodman, Wendy (2014-04-24). "Where Rachel Maddow Is Allowed to Watch TV". NYMag. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  21. ^ VanHoose, Benjamin (20 November 2020). "Rachel Maddow Reveals Partner Susan Mikula Is Battling COVID-19 in Emotional Return to MSNBC". People. Retrieved 24 November 2020.

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