Catherine Opie

Catherine Opie
The Fox Is Black

Catherine Opie will create printed matter for Station to Station.

Catherine Opie has made a career in photography by adapting to time and place, exposing the commonalities among people in a myriad of contexts.

Born in Sandusky, Ohio, Opie moved with her family to suburban Southern California after her father received a six-months-to-live diagnosis — he is still alive today. Opie built her first dark room at age 14 to document the shrub-land of her rural California town, her first of many explorations of the self within particular environments.

After a brief flirtation with a career as a kindergarten teacher in Virginia, Opie moved to San Francisco, where she came out as a lesbian during the height of the AIDS pandemic. Her dichotomous upbringing, move to San Francisco, and current locale in Los Angeles imbue her work with range, yet all connect back to her own unique sense of community in America. Her photographs examine and dignify multiple interpretations of the word community: from queer culture, to surfers, to LA architecture, to high school football players. Thanks in part to her training in Art History (she received her B.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute and her M.F.A. from CalArts), Opie’s photographs display a rigorous formalism in light of her distinctly modern content.

Her honors include the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Women’s Caucus for Art (2009); United States Artists Fellowship (2006); Larry Aldrich Award (2004); and the CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts (2003). Her work has appeared at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, MCA Chicago (2006), and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Since 2001, Opie has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles.