Tom Burr

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Tom Burr (born 1963) is an American conceptual artist, based in New York City.


Born in New Haven, CT Burr attended the Educational Center for the Arts high school, a multi-arts program taught in part by Yale University graduate students. It is here that Burr became aware of and developed an interest in Minimal and post-Minimalist artists, including Robert Smithson, Dan Graham, Eva Hesse and Gordon Matta Clark. Burr's senior thesis work reflected these influences, by merging sculptural elements with brief poetic texts. Simultaneously, Burr’s collage based work began at this time. After graduating from high school, Burr attended figure drawing classes at the Art Students League in New York. In the following years, Burr attended the School of Visual Arts and the Whitney Independent Study Program, where he studied with Craig Owens, Benjamin Buchloh, Yvonne Rainer, and Barbara Kruger, and Ull Hohn. During this time Burr immersed himself in the theoretical writings and conceptual practices that would expand his own work and thinking. While at the Whitney Program in 1988 Burr met art dealer Colin de Land and began a friendship that would lead to Burr joining de Land's seminal gallery, American Fine Arts, Co, in the early 90's.

In 1993 Burr was invited to participate in several large scale exhibitions in Europe, including Sonsbeek '93, curated by Valerie Smith, Unite in Firminy, France, curated by Yves Aupetaillot, and Kontext Kunst, curated by Peter Weibel. It was for the Sonsbeek exhibition that Burr created his highly regarded work "An American Garden," a scale recreation of a section of Central Park's Ramble, and a direct extension of Robert Smithson's writings and the culmination of a body of work dealing with public parks, landscape, naturalism, and gay male identity. Later that year a document based extension of An American Garden, (what Burr has referred to as "an informational non-site") was included in art historian James Meyer's influential exhibition "What Happened to the Institutional Critique?," at American Fine Arts, Co, in New York ( including works by Renee Green and other artists) In 1995, also at American Fine Arts, co, Burr created his exhibition "42nd Street Structures," which fused the distant forms of Minimalism with present-day conditions in New York, specifically the war on public sexuality during the Aids crisis. Accompanying the sculptural elements were brief written "moments," as Burr refers to them, which were then later expanded and published in October Journal (Spring 2007, No. 120, Pages 138-139). Later that year, Burr participated in a four-person exhibition at the Kunsthalle Zurich, where he created his second earthwork, Circa '77. Like An American Garden, this work recreated a section of a park, this time the Platzspitz in Zurich, as it may have looked in a previous time, pointing to both the passage of time, and specific social and political moments that define landscape.

In the late 1990s Burr embarked on a body of work that remains ongoing; derived from the language and forms of both Tony Smith's sculptures, on the one hand, and closed architectural spaces such as bars, cages and boxes. These works, often borrowing Smith's matte black palette, evoke spaces of control and containment, as well as the "safe zones" of underground cultures.

Alongside these works, Burr developed his now iconic Bulletin Boards, originally created out of the excessive collecting of images and materials that are part of his working methods. Constructed through plays of juxtaposition, the boards are markers of place, often reflecting the situation of their exhibition.


1987-88 Whitney Independent Study Program, New York

1982-86 School of Visual Arts, New York

Teaching and Residencies[edit]

2009-10 Critic in Sculpture, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

2010 Artist in Residence, Randolph Cliff, Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland

Selected Solo Exhibitions[edit]

  • Art Basel Parcours, Basel, Switzerland
  • Cloud in Trousers, Citta della Pieve, Umbria, Italy
  • deep wood drive, Bortolami Gallery, NY
  • Promiscuous Pleats, Galleria Franco Noero, Torrino
  • Head Ache, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
  • New York, Sommer Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
  • Black Lab and Oblong Box #2, Bortolami Gallery, New York, NY, USA
  • Felt Under Fingers, Almine Rech Galerie, Brussels
  • Gravity Moves Me, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, France
  • Murmur, MD72, Berlin
  • Four Sides to Myself, Bortolami Gallery, NY
  • Sentence, Bortolami Gallery, New York
  • Bonvicini/Burr, with Monica Bonvicini, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und

Kunstbau, Munich, travelling to Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel

  • Head Ache, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
  • Descending, Galleria Franco Noero, Turin
  • Addict – Love, Sculpture Center, New York
  • Black and Blue, Galerie Almine Rech, Paris
  • Space, Turin, Italy
  • Anxiety – A Showcase, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin
  • Swiss Institute, New York (with Walter Pfeiffer)
  • Moods, Secession, Vienna
  • Complete Breakdown, Galerie Neu, Berlin
  • Privy, Please, The Norfolk Library, Norfolk (Connecticut)
  • The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, romaromaroma, Rome
  • Our Lady of the Flowers, Galleria Franco Noero, Turin
  • Gone, Gone, American Fine Arts, New York
  • Die Stalle/The Stalls, Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne
  • The Screens, Institute for Visual Culture, Cambridge
  • Piscine, Galerie Almine Rech, Paris
  • Deep Purple, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • Dog Days, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
  • Brutalism, Galerie Neu
  • The Gramercy Art Fair, New York, NY, USA
  • Low Slung, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig
  • AFA – American Fine Arts, CO – Colin De Land Fine Art, New York, NY, USA
  • Black Box, Artforum Berlin, Galerie Neu, Berlin
  • Private Property: Anti-Public Sculpture, Galerie Almine Reich, Paris
  • Surface, Galerie Neu, Berlin
  • The Medical Show, Galeria Marta Cervera, Madrid
  • Stainless, American Fine Arts, New York
  • 42nd Street Structures, American Fine Arts, New York
  • American Fine Arts, New York
  • White Columns, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions[edit]

  • relocated, Galerie Neu, Berlin
  • Utopia Gesamtkunstwerk, 21er Haus, Belvedere Museum, Vienna
  • Verschiebungsersatz, curated by David Rimanelli, Kimmerich, New York
  • December: Organized by Howie Chen, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York
  • VERSCHIEBUNGSERSATZ, curated by David Rimanelli, Kimmerich, New York
  • After images, curated by Fionn Meade, Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels
  • Five Easy Pieces, Galleria Franco Noero, Torino
  • 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Schnitte im Raum, Sculptural Collagen, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany
  • The Smithson Effect, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City
  • SHAPES, Sammlung-Haubrok, Berlin,Germany
  • Missing Beat, Sommer Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
  • “…”, Galerie Neu, Berlin
  • ABOUT US, Johann König, Berlin, Germany
  • Cumulus, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA
  • Forced Exposure, Team Gallery, New York, NY
  • The New Décor, The Hayward Gallery, London, UK
  • Mixed Use, Manhattan: Photography and Related Practices 1970s to the Present, Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
  • The Page, Kimmerich Gallery, New York, NY
  • Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines, Bortolami Gallery at The Webster, Miami Beach
  • Wall & Floor, Galerie Almine Rech, Paris, France
  • Moby Dick, Curated by Jens Hoffman, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, September- December 2009
  • The World is Yours, Louisiana Museum, Denmark, September- December
  • Rachel Harrison: Consider the Lobster and other Essays, Center for Curatorial Studies and Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College (CCS Bard), Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, June- December 2009
  • Saints and Sinners, curated by Laura Hoptman, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Boston
  • The Station, curated by Shamim Momin & Nate Lowman Miami, Florida
  • Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London
  • Political/Minimal curated by Klaus Biesenbach Kunst-Werke Berlin e.V. - KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
  • Recollection curated by Gianni Jetzer Barriera, Turin, Italy Nov. 2008-Jan. 2009
  • La Fête Est Permanente / The Eternal Network FRAC - Champagne-Ardenne, Reims
  • The Eternal Flame. On the Promise of Eternity, Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz
  • Not So Subtle Subtitle, Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York
  • Marc Camille Chaimowitz, …In The Cherished Company of Others…, De Appel, Amsterdam/PMMK, Oostende
  • Sammlung/Collection 1978–2008, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich
  • Fais en sorte que je puisse te parler/Mache, dass ich zu dir sprechen kann/Act so that I can speak to you, Kamm, Berlin
  • A New High in Getting Low (NYC), John Connelly Presents, New York
  • Photos and Phantasy: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard
  • Une Saison à Bruxelles, Dépendance, Brussels
  • Walk!, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin
  • Oh Girl, It’s a Boy!, Munich Kunstverein, Munich
  • Body Politicx, Witte de With, Rotterdam
  • At Home, Curated by Mario Testino, Yvon Lambert project space, New York
  • The Happiness of Objects, Sculpture Centre, Long Island, New York
  • Unmonumental: Falling to Pieces in the 21st Century, Curated by Richard Flood, Laura Hoptman and Massimiliano Gioni, The New Museum, New York
  • OMNIA VANITAS: VANITY IS ALL, Gavlack Gallery, Los Angeles
  • Pale Carnage, Arnolfini, Bristol, travelling to; Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee
  • Wieder und Wider, Performance, MUMOK, Vienna
  • The Eighth Square, Museum Ludwig, Cologne
  • The Name of This Show Is Not GAY ART NOW, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, Curated by Jack Pierson
  • Warum etwas zeigen, was man sehen kann, Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst, Leipzig
  • HaubrokShows. B Sharp, Xantener Strasse 7, Berlin
  • Down the Garden Path: The Artist’s Garden After Modernism, Queens Museum of Art, New York
  • Nolens Volens, Galerie Neu, Berlin
  • EXILE New York is a good Hotel, Broadway 1602, New York
  • Residence, MICA Foundation, New York
  • Trafic d’influence: Art & Design, Collection Frac Nord Pas-de-Calais, Dunkerque
  • Election, American Fine Art, Colin de Land Fine Art, New York
  • When the lights go out…, Cohan & Leslie, New York
  • The Future Has a Silver Lining, Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich
  • Braunschweig Parcours 2004, Braunschweig
  • Whitney Biennial 2004, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • Beginning Here: 101 Ways, Visual Arts Gallery, New York
  • Strange Weather, Modern Art, London
  • It’s all an Illusion, Migros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Zurich
  • Flowers Observed, Flowers Transformed, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
  • Le Rayon Noir, Circuit-Assossiation d’Art Contemporain, Lausanne
  • New Space! Group Show!, Galleria Franco Noero, Turin
  • Grey Gardens, Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles
  • My Head Is On Fire But My Heart Is Full of Love, Charlottenborg Udstillings-bygning, Copenhagen
  • Xeros, Ecole du Magasin, Center National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble

Deliberate Living, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York

  • Parttnerschaften – Unterbrochene Karrieren, Neue Gessellschaft fur Bildende Kunst, Berlin
  • American Fine Arts, New York
  • Quiet Life, Ursula Blickle Stiftung, Kraichtal-Unterowisheim, curated by Michael Neff
  • Sightings, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, curated by Jeffrey Walkowiak
  • Space Open 2000, Space studios, London
  • Model, Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria
  • I Hate Movies, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, curated by Tom Borgese
  • Parasite, The Drawing Center, New York
  • Sans Titre, Froment + Putman, Paris
  • Disappeared, Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago
  • American Fine Arts, New York
  • Ideal Standard Life, Spiral Garden, Tokyo
  • Gramercy International Art Fair, New York
  • Birgit Kung, Zurich
  • Architectures of Display with architect Toshiko Mori, organized by Minetta Brook, New York
  • Platzwechsel (with Ursula Biemann, Mark Dion, Christian Philipp Muller), Kunsthalle Zurich und Schweizer National – museum, Zurich
  • Mapping: A Response to MOMA, American Fine Arts, New York
  • Architecture and Display, Architectural League of New York and Minetta Book, New York (with Toshiko Mori)
  • Lace, Los Angeles, California
  • The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
  • Kontext Kunst, Kunstlerhaus Graz, Austria
  • What Happened to the Institutional Critique, curated by James Meyer, American Fine Arts, New York
  • Social Subjects, YYZ, Toronto, Ontario
  • Sonsbeek 93, Arnheim
  • Projet Unité, Firminy
  • White Columns, New York (Catalogue)
  • American Fine Arts, New York
  • Paula Allen Gallery, New York
  • American Fine Arts, New York
  • Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, New York
  • Whitney Independent Study Program,Open Studios, New York


Collections of art that own examples of Burr's work include

  • AÏSHTI Foundation, Lebanon
  • Baltimore Museum, Baltimore
  • Berezdivin Collection, Espacio 1414
  • Collezione La Gaia, Italy
  • FRAC, Champagne Ardenne, France
  • FRAC, Nord-Pas de Calais, France
  • MART Museum, Italy
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA


External links[edit]