BIO/CV

Michael Light Biography and CV

Mike Light imaging in his aircraft, doors off; composite by Benjamin Turner

Mike Light imaging in his aircraft, doors off; composite by Benjamin Turner

BIO/CV

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Michael Light is a San Francisco-based photographer focused on the environment and how contemporary American culture relates to it. He has exhibited globally, and his work has been collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Research Institute, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, among many others.

For the last fifteen years, Light has aerially photographed over settled and unsettled areas of American space, pursuing themes of mapping, vertigo, human impact on the land, and various aspects of geologic time and the sublime. A private pilot and Guggenheim Fellow in photography, he is currently working on an extended aerial survey of the arid Western states. Radius Books published the first of a multi-volume series of this work, Bingham Mine/Garfield Stack, in 2009. The second, LA Day/LA Night, was released in 2011. The third, Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain, was published in 2015.

Light is also known for his internationally acclaimed archival works. His first, FULL MOON (1999), used lunar geological survey imagery made by the Apollo astronauts to show the moon both as a sublime desert and an embattled point of first human contact. 100 SUNS (2003), focused on the politics and landscape meanings of military photographs of U.S. Atmospheric nuclear detonations from 1945 to 1962.

BORN: Florida 1963

EDUCATION:
MFA, Photography, San Francisco Art Institute 1993
BA, American Studies, Amherst College 1986

SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
Achenbach Collection, Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco, CA
San Jose Museum of Art, CA
Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Autry Center of the American West, Los Angeles, CA
UCLA Young Research Library, CA
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
Nevada Museum of Art, NV
Brooklyn Museum, NY
American Museum of Natural History, NY (Permanent Exhibition)
Milwaukee Art Museum, WI
New York Public Library, NY
Center For Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden
Musee de l’Elysee, Switzerland
Huis Marseille Foundation for Photography, Amsterdam
Australia Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne

SELECTED AWARDS:
2015 PDN Photo Annual Book Winner, New York
2007 Artadia Award, Fund for Art and Dialogue, New York
2007 John Simon Memorial Foundation Guggenheim Fellow; Photography
2004 “100 SUNS: Honorable Mention Best Edited Historical Book,” ICP Golden Light Awards, New York
2001 "FULL MOON: Special Commendation, 2000 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Awards," London

PUBLICATIONS:
2015 Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain; Radius Books, Santa Fe, NM
2011 LA Day/LA Night; Radius Books, Santa Fe, NM
2009 Bingham Mine/Garfield Stack; Radius Books, Santa Fe, NM
2008 SOME DRY SPACE: An Inhabited West; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
2003 100 SUNS, American, British, French, German, Swedish and Italian editions
1999 FULL MOON, American, British, French, German, Swedish, Spanish and Japanese editions
1993 RANCH, Twelvetrees Press/Twin Palms Publishers, Santa Fe, NM

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2016 “Sidereal Rift,” Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica
2013 “Some Dry Space,” James Danziger Gallery, New York
2012 “Private Frontiers,” Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2012 “Two Sublimes, Idaho” Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica
2011 “Some Dry Space: An Inhabited West,” Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR
2010 “Architecture of Subtraction," Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, CA
2010 "InterMountain," Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica
2009 “100 Suns,” Yours Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, Poland
2009 "New Work," Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
2008 “Some Dry Space: An Inhabited West,” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno
2008 “Bookworks and Photographs,” Galerie Michael Wiesehoefer, Cologne
2008 “100 Suns,” Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, Burlington
2008 “100 Suns,” Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee
2007 “Edge Of The West,” Galerie Luc Bellier, Paris
2007 “Los Angeles 07.27.05,” Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica
2007 “Bookworks,” Hosfelt Gallery, New York
2007 “Near Planet,” Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
2006 “100 Suns,” Hosfelt Gallery, New York
2006 “Full Moon,” Hasselblad Center, Goteborg, Sweden
2005 “Hover,” Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
2005 “Arid Flows: Los Angeles and Its Deserts,” Natural History Museum of LA County, CA
2005 “100 Suns: For Robert, Ernest & Edward’s Berkeley, 1945-1962”, University of California, Berkeley
2004 “100 Suns,” Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg
2004 “Silence and the Big Blast,” Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburgh
2004 “100 Suns,” Auditorium Arte, Rome
2004 “100 Suns,” Frehrking + Wiesehofer Gallery, Cologne
2004 “Some Dry Space,” Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica
2003 “100 Suns,” Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
2001 Metropolitan Transit Authority/Arts For Transit, Grand Central Station, New York
2000 "Full Moon," Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
2000 "Full Moon" American Museum of Natural History, New York
1999 "Full Moon," Hayward Gallery, London
1999 "Full Moon," Huis Marseille/Foundation for Photography, Amsterdam
1999 "Full Moon," San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
1995 "Blue Fall," Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA
1995 “Ranch & Oblivion,” Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS:
2016 “Boundless: A California Invitational,” Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
2016 “Indestructible Wonder,” San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
2016 “Wild West: Plains to the Pacific,” Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA
2016 “Aerial Imagery in Print, 1860 to Today,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
2016 “Explode Everyday: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder,” MassMOCA, North Adams, MA
2016 “California and the West,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
2016 “Into the Night: Contemporary Art and the Nocturne Tradition,” Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
2015 “Camera Atomica,” Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario, Canada
2015 “TAHOE: A Visual History,” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
2015 “Night Begins the Day: Rethinking Space, Time, and Beauty,” Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
2014 “They Used to Call it the Moon,” BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK
2014 “Road Trip: Photography of the American West,” LACMA/Musee des Beaux Arts de Bordeaux, France
2014 “Driving L.A.,” Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2014 “Creation and Erasure: Art of the Bingham Canyon Mine,” Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT
2013 “Cosmopolitan,” Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL
2013 “In All Cases: A Collection Selection,” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
2013 “From Above: Aerial Photography from the Center for Creative Photography,” Tucson, AZ
2013 “Landmark: The Fields of Photography,” Somerset House, London, United Kingdom
2013 “Overdrive: Los Angeles Constructs the Future,” The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
2013 “30x: Three Decades,” Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
2012 “Flight and the Artistic Imagination,” Compton Verney House, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
2012 “Wonderland,” International FotoFestival Knokke-Heist, Belgium
2011 “The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment,” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
2011 “Aftershocks,” UCR/California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA
2011 “Skydreamers,” Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA
2010 “The More Things Change,“ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
2010 “Developed and Undeveloped: Photographic Landscapes,” De Young Museum, San Francisco
2010 “Le Festival Images,” Vevey, Switzerland
2010 “Re-Imagining the West,” Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ
2010 “State of Mind: A California Invitational,” Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
2010 “The Future Lasts Forever: An Autobiography of the Bay Area,” SF Camerawork, San Francisco
2010 “The View From Here,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
2009 “The Moon,” Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
2009 "The Moon," Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany
2009 "Lives of the Hudson," Tang Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
2008 “Atomic Afterimage,” Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA
2008 “This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in Los Angeles Photographs,” Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
2008 “Picturing Modernity: The Photography Collection,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA
2008 “Controverses,” Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland
2007 “PEEP: The Kerry Stokes Collection”, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria, Australia
2007 “Landscapes of War,” San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA
2007 “I’ll Never Really See: Contemporary Photography from the V&A,” Victoria & Albert Museum, London
2007 “Re-SITE-ing the West: Contemporary Photographs from the Permanent Collection,” LACMA, CA
2006 “City Limits,” University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach, CA
2006 “To The Human Future: Escape From The Dark Side,” Art Tower Mito, Mito, Japan
2005 “Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy,” ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany
2005 “Nuclear Realities: Images of the Bomb,” Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam
2005 “Techno-Sublime,” Colorado University Art Museum, UC Boulder, Colorado
2005 “Les Grands Spectacles: 120 Years of Art and Mass Culture,” Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria
2004 “Wirklich Wahr! Realitatsversprechen von Fotografien,” Ruhrlandmuseum, Essen, Germany
2004 “Kurzdavordanach,” Die Photographische Sammlung, Cologne, Germany
2004 “Building the Unthinkable,” apexart, New York
2004 “The Nuclear West,” Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV (traveling)
2003 “The New Sublime,” Northlight Gallery, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
2002 “Deep Space: Sensation and Immersion,” Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne
2001 "Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen," Getty Museum, Los Angeles
2001 "The World From Here," Armand Hammer Museum of Art, Los Angeles
2001 "Space Odyssey," Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, Mito, Japan
2000 "Deep Distance," Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland
2000 "The Desert," Fondation Cartier pour L’Art Contemporaine, Paris
1999 "Cosmos: From Romanticism to the Avant-garde," The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:
2016 Muller-Bohle, Andreas, “Urbanics: The Contemporary City,” European Photography 98, Berlin
2016 Loftus-Farren, Zoe, “Remnants of the American Dream,” Earth Island Journal, Winter
2015 Green, Tyler, “Podcast #214: Curator Ann Wolf with Artists Mike Light and Mark Klett,” Modern Art Notes
2015 Baker, Kenneth, “Night Begins The Day” at Jewish Museum, San Francisco Chronicle, July 10
2014 “Podcast: Michael Light,” Art Uncovered with Thomas, Canada
2014 Teicher, Jordan, “The Decadence and Environmental Destruction of American Expansionism in Nevada,”
         SLATE.com, October 17
2014 Manaugh, Geoff, “Landscape, Redacted,” BLDGBLOG.com, October
2014 TIME Special Preview: A Guide to the Best Fall Photobooks, TIME, September 8
2014 Leaver, Jon, “Urban Sublime: Visualizing the Immensity of Los Angeles,” X-TRA Art Quarterly, Winter
2014 Aletti, Vince, “Michael Light: Danziger Gallery,” The New Yorker, January 13
2013 Saltz, Jerry, “To Do: #2 See Michael Light: Some Dry Space,” New York Magazine, December 11
2013 Green, Tyler, “Art and California’s Ribbons of Road,” Blouin Art Info, November 13
2013 Canedo-Gattegno, Rodrigo, “Michael Light’s Erratic Terrain,” Photo Booth, The New Yorker, October 21
2013 Manaugh, Geoff, “Spatial Delirium: An Interview With Michael Light,” BLDGBLOG.com, V-e-n-u-e.com,
         The Atlantic.com, October
2013 Kilston, Lyra, “Economic Collapse . . . ,” Wired.com Raw File, September 13, New York
2013 “DISASTERS/100 SUNS”, EXIT Magazine, Issue 50, Madrid
2013 “LA Day/LA Night”, GUP Magazine, Issue 037, Amsterdam
2013 George, Kendall, “Private Frontiers,” SF Arts Quarterly, Winter, San Francisco
2012 Baker, Kenneth, “Light and Ballantyne at Hosfelt,” San Francisco Chronicle, December 21, San Francisco
2012 Rothman, Aaron, “Above Lake Las Vegas,” Places/DesignObserver.com, December, New York
2012 Grant, Lee, “Michael Light,” Time Machine Issue Six: Atomic, July, Australia
2011 Gordinier, Jeff, “Buzzed: Photographs by Michael Light,” Outside Magazine, June, Santa Fe
2011 Horne, Rebecca, “In the Airlight With Michael Light,” Wall Street Journal.com, June 1, New York
2011 “LA. Day/L.A. Night,” Places/DesignObserver.com, April, New York
2011 “Michael Light on His Aerials,” SFMOMA Artcast, April, San Francisco
2011 “Michael Light on Full Moon,” SFMOMA Artcast, April, San Francisco
2010 Weschler, Lawrence, “Michael Light in Conversation,” The Believer, November 1, San Francisco
2010 Gordiner, Jeff, “Michael Light’s Flight of Fancy,” Details Magazine, July, New York
2010 Ollman, Leah, “Michael Light: The Earth is Reshaped,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, Los Angeles
2010 Smyth, Diane, “River Deep, Mountain High,” British Journal of Photography, April, London
2009 Vincent, Stephen, “Michael Light,” Black and White Magazine, October, San Francisco
2009 Mobley, Chuck, "Michael Light at Hosfelt Gallery," Art on Paper, May/June, New York
2009 Cheng, Dewitt, "Michael Light: Seeing the Earth from the Air," Art Ltd, March/April, Los Angeles
2009 Ray Huston, Johnny, "Michael Light: New Work," San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 25, SF
2008 Paglen, Trevor, "BEST OF 2008/Some Dry Space/Michael Light," ArtForum, December, NY
2008 Burbridge, Benedict, “Contemporary Art and the Bomb,” Photoworks, Spring/Summer Issue, Brighton, UK
2008 Leydier, Richard, “Michael Light,” Art Press 343, Paris
2007 Sholis, Brian, “Critic’s Picks: Michael Light,” Artforum.com, June, New York
2007 Baker, Kenneth, “Light on Landscape,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, San Francisco
2007 Ray Huston, Johnny, “Pick: Near Planet”, SF Bay Guardian, January 24, San Francisco
2006 Westerbeck, Colin, “SUGAR,” West Magazine, Sunday Los Angeles Times, August 27, Los Angeles
2006 Baker, R.C., “Best In Show: Apocalypse Porn,” The Village Voice, May 1, New York
2006 “Goings On About Town,” The New Yorker, May 1, New York
2005 Greenwald, Jeff, “Moonscapes and Mushroom Clouds: The Eye of Michael Light,” Tricycle, Winter, New York
2005 Hirsch, Robert, “100 SUNS and the Nuclear Sublime: Michael Light”, Afterimage, July/August, Rochester, NY
2004 “La Beaute Veneneuse des Champignons Nucleaires Americaines,” Le Monde, December 26, Paris
2004 Crump, James, “To The Ends of the Earth,” ArtReview, October, London
2004 Smith, Roberta, “Building the Unthinkable,” New York Times, October 1
2004 Ribbat, Christoph, “Michael Light: 100 Sonnen,” European Photography, Spring/Summer, Berlin
2004 Masters, Alexander, “Eternal Flames,” Times Literary Supplement, June 18, London
2004 Di Forti, Massimo, “Quei Soli Destinant Ad Annientare La Terra,” Il Messagero, May 26, Rome
2004 Thompson, David, “Exposure: Michael Light Profile,” Eye Magazine, Issue #51 Spring, London
2004 James, Simon, “100 SUNS,” Royal Photographic Society Journal, January/February, London
2004 Morrison, Philip, “Metaphorical Suns . . .” Scientific American, January, New York
2003 Thompson, David, “Terrible Sunrise,” The Observer, December 21, London
2003 “Best of 2003,” Publisher’s Weekly, November 17, New York
2003 V. Rauchhaupt, Ulf, “Vorwarts Marsch, Unter den Atompilz!,” Frankfurter Allgemeine, November 16, Germany
2003 Baker, Kenneth, “100 SUNS Puts Spotlight back on Doomsday Clock,” SF Chronicle, November 1
2003 “Michael Light and Jim Sanborn,” The Art Newspaper, November, London
2003 Helfand, Glen, “Critic’s Picks: Michael Light,” Artforum.com, November, New York
2003 “Through the Lens, the Severe Beauty of Nuclear Test Blasts,” New York Times, October 21
2003 “100 SONNEN,” Suddeutsche Zeitung, October 6, Germany
2003 DeLano, Sharon, “On Photography: Darkness Visible,” The New Yorker, October 6, New York
2003 Mobilio, Albert, “100 SUNS: 1945-1962,” BOOKFORUM, Fall Issue, New York
2003 Olsen, Marisa, “Suns of Destruction,” Planet Magazine, Fall Issue, San Francisco
2003 Dyer, Geoff, “A Great Space,” Modern Painters, Spring Issue, London
2001 Hochman, David, “Cabinets, Ancient & New, Full of Wonder,” New York Times, December 30
2001 Dyer, Geoff, “The Desert,” Bay Area Guardian, February 24, San Francisco
2001 Cosgrove, Denis, "Anti-Ecumene," Ecumene: Cultural Geographies, Volume 8, #1, London
2000 Riding, Alan, "Timeless Magic Within the Desert's Sand," New York Times, August 29
2000 Knight, Christopher, "Puzzling Landscapes Happily Lost in Space," Los Angeles Times, August 4
2000 Lane, Anthony, "The Light Side of the Moon," The New Yorker, April 10, New York
2000 "10 Best Photography Books of 1999," The Village Voice, February 8, New York
1999 Brown, Neal, "FULL MOON," Frieze, November/December, London
1999 Glendinning, Victoria, "FULL MOON: Book of the Year," The Daily Telegraph, Nov 27, London
1999 Long, Andrew, "Earth, Moon and Stars," Salon.com, November 11, New York
1999 Byfield, Ted, "FULL MOON: Not Pale Fire," Mute, September/October, London
1999 "Steps in Space," Aperture, Autumn Issue, New York
1999 "An Exhibition of Moon Photos," The Economist, September 25, London
1999 "Briefly Noted: FULL MOON by Michael Light," The New Yorker, August 23 and 30, New York
1999 Morton, Oliver, "They Could See The Stars," Times Literary Supplement, August 20, London
1999 Sanford, John, "The Long Shadow," Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 13
1999 Loke, Margarett, "How the Moon Turns Pilots Into Poets," New York Times, May 18
1998 Van Proyen, Mark, "Burning Man 1998," New Art Examiner, November, Chicago
1995 Schumacher, Donna, "Michael Light: Ranch & Oblivion," Art Papers, Sept/Oct, Atlanta
1995 "BLUE FALL," SEE: A Journal of Visual Culture, Issue 1:2, Friends of Photography, San Francisco


SELECTED CATALOGUES/BOOKS:
2016 Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, MASS MoCa, Prestel, New York
2016 Boundless: A California Invitational, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
2016 1%: Privilege in a Time of Global Inequality, Myles Little, Hatje Cantz, Germany
2015 Night Begins the Day: Rethinking Space, Time and Beauty, Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
2015 Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles, Metropolitan Books, New York
2015 Camera Atomica: Photographing the Nuclear World, John O’Brian, Black Dog Publishing, London
2014 Undermining: Land Use, Politics and Art in the Changing West, Lucy Lippard,The New Press, New York
2014 Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography, William Ewing, Thames and Hudson, New York
2014 Emerging Landscapes: Between Production and Representation, Deriu & Shinkle, eds. Ashgate, London
2013 From Above: Aerial Photography from the Center For Creative Photography, e-book, Tucson, AZ
2011 The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, SkiraRizzoli, NY
2010 Photography and Flight, Cosgrove/Fox, Reaktion Books, London
2010 Lives of the Hudson, Berry/Lewis, Skidmore College Tang Museum, Prestel Publishing, New York
2009 Photo-Wisdom: Master Photographers on Their Art, Lewis Blackwell, Chronicle Books, San Francisco
2009 Aeriality: On the World From Above, William L. Fox, Counterpoint, Berkeley
2008 This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in Los Angeles Photographs, Huntington Library, Los Angeles
2008 Controversies: A Legal and Ethical History of Photography, Actes Sud, Arles, France
2007 Landscapes For Politics, Rebecca Solnit, University of California Press, Berkeley
2006 To The Human Future/Flight From the Dark Side, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito, Japan
2005 AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man, L. Gilmore/M. Van Proyen, eds, UNM Press, Albuquerque
2005 Les Grands Spectacles: 120 Years of Art & Mass Culture, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria
2005 Looking at Los Angeles, Metropolitan Books, New York
2001 Devices of Wonder: From The World In a Box to Images on A Screen, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
2001 Space Odyssey, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito, Japan
2000 The Desert, Fondation Cartier Pour l'Art Contemporain/Thames & Hudson, London and New York
2000 Deep Distance/Die Entfernung der Fotografie, Kunsthalle Basel #36, Basel


REPRESENTATION:
Danziger Gallery, New York
Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
Craig Krull Gallery, Los Angeles