Sara Cwynar (b. 1985, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is interested in the way that images accumulate, endure, and change in value over time. Her conceptual photographs and films involve constant archiving and re-presentation of collected visual materials, layering diverse imagery with references to art theory. The works intricately recall advertisements, retail catalogues, and old art history textbooks. Her visual assemblages meditate on how vernacular images shape collective world views, and how those ideals can change through time and contextual manipulation.
Cwynar was one of the recipients of the 2020 Sobey Art Award. She earned her Bachelor of Design from York University in 2010 and her MFA from Yale University in 2016. She has exhibited at international museums including the Museum of Modern Art (2019); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2019); Milwaukee Art Museum (2019); Oakville Galleries (2018); Minneapolis Institute of Art (2018); Museum für Moderne Kunst (2017); the Fondazione Prada (2016); and MoMA PS1 (2015), and international galleries including The Approach, London (2020); Foxy Production, New York (2017); Cooper Cole, Toronto (2016); Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2015), M+B Gallery, Los Angeles (2014); and Fluxia Gallery, Milan (2014). In 2014, Cwynar was awarded the Printed Matter Emerging Artists Publication Series and published her first monograph, entitled Kitsch Encyclopedia, with Blonde Art Books. Her work is in the permanent collections of museums including the Guggenheim Museum (New York), SFMoMA (San Francisco), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas), Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Cwynar currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Born 1985, Vancouver, Canada
Lives and works in New York, USA
2016 MFA Yale University, New Haven, USA
2010 BDES Honors Graphic Design, York University, Toronto, Canada
2006 English Literature, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
2020 Marilyn, The Approach, London, United Kingdom
2019 Gilded Age, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, USA
Image Model Muse, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, USA
2018 Image Model Muse, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, USA
Rose Gold, The approach, London, United Kingdom
Sara Cwynar, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Canada
2017 Tracy, Car Kostyal Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Soft Film, MMK Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Sara Cwynar, Foxy Production, New York, USA
2016 Three Hands, COOPER COLE, Toronto, Canada
Soft Film, Art Basel Statements with Foxy Production. Basel, Switzerland
2015 Presidential Index, Retrospective, Hudson, USA
2014 FLAT DEATH, Foxy Production, New York, USA
FLAT DEATH, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, USA
2013 FLAT DEATH, COOPER COLE, Toronto, Canada
Everything in the Studio (Destroyed), Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2012 Accidental Archives, COOPER COLE, Toronto, Canada
2020 Objects of Desire: Photography and the Language of Advertising, LACMA, Los Angeles, USA (Forthcoming)
PHOTO 2020, International Festival of Photography, Melbourne, Australia (Forthcoming)
New Visions: The Henie Onstage Triennial for Photography and New Media, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
American Women, curated by Marie Maertens, La Patinoire Royale, Brussels, Belgium
2019 Le Dandy des Gadoues, curated by Marc Bembekoff, Centre d’art Contemporain de Noisy- le-Sec, France
Don’t! Photography and the Art of Mistakes, SFMOMA, San Francisco, USA
Glenn O’Brien: Center Stage, Off Paradise, New York, USA
Last Night I Wore a Costume, curated by Lisa Dooley, LX Arts, New York, USA
2018 Re: Art show 21, curated by Efrem Zelony-Mindell, Phizer
Building, Brooklyn, USA
You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred, curated by Paul
Luckraft, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, Russia
Mademoiselle, curated by Tara Londi , Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain d’Occitane, Sète, France
Roesler Hotel #28: Screenscapes, curated by Vik Muniz, Barney Kulok and Lucas Blalock, The Roesler Hotel, São Paulo, Brazil
La Complainte du progrès, curated by Sandra Patron, Musée régional d’art contemporain Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée, Sérignan, France
Fulhame’s Map, Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, Canada
MAST Foundation for Photography Grant on Industry and Work,
curated by Urs Stahel, Mast Foundation, Bologna, Italy
2017 Strange Attractors: The Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Art: Vol.
1 Life on Earth, organized by Bob Nickas, Redling Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA
Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada
Culture Industry, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA, USA
Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie – Farewell Photography, Mannheim, Germany
Through the Lens – Platform for Photography, Deweer Gallery, Otegem, Belgium
Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, curated by Ami Barak, Montreal, Canada
My curiosities are not your curios, Art Gallery of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
Hard to Picture: A Tribute to Ad Reinhardt, curated by Diana Baldon and Marie-Noëlle Farcy, Mudam, Luxembourg
Subjektiv, curated by the editorial board of OBJEKTIV – consisting
of Lucas Blalock, Ida Kierulf, Brian Sholis, Susanne Ø. Sæther and
editor Nina Strand. Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
Screen Memory, Simon Lee Gallery, London, United Kingdom
AS IF FROM WERE SOME PITCHER, Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, USA
You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred, curated by Paul Luckraft, Zabludowicz Collection, London, United Kingdom
99 Cents or Less, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, USA
In Some Far Place, curated by Mirielle Eagan, The Rooms, St John, Netherlands
I am the Organizer of My Own Objects, curated by cheyanne turions, Dazibao, Montréal, Canada
Looking Back / The 11th White Columns Annual, selected by Anne
Doran, White Columns, New York, USA
2016 Tell Me What I Mean, To____Bridges____, Bronx, USA
L’Image Volee, curated by Thomas Demand, The Prada Foundation, Milan, Italy
For Pete’s Sake, Carl Kostyál, Stockholm, Sweden
We are the Center for Curatorial Studies, CCS Bard Hessel Museum, Hudson, USA
Arles 2016: Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France
2015 Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York, USA
Continuous Surfaces, Andrea Rosen, New York, USA
If You Leave Me Can I Come Too?, Hunter East Harlem Gallery, New York, USA
The Secret Life, Murray Guy, New York, USA
Under Construction: New Positions in American Photography, Foam Photography Museum at Pioneer Works, New York, USA
2014 The Actual, Eleven Rivington, New York, USA
Surface (New Life), curated by Sara Dolfi Agostini, Fluxia Gallery, Milan, Italy
Soft Target, organized by Phil Chang and Matthew Porter, M+B Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
Never Enough: Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA
The New Beauty of Our Modern Life, curated by Kate Steciw, Higher Pictures, New York, USA
2013 Mode, Foxy Production, New York, USA
Aperture Benefit Auction, Aperture Foundation, New York, USA
MAD Library with Limited Time Only, ICI, New York, USA
What You Want, The Camera Club of New York, New York, USA
The Scenery Changes Three Times, Schema Projects, Brooklyn, USA
2012 Small Works, Humble Arts Foundation with Magenta Flash Forward Festival, Boston, USA
Great Point, Real Fine Arts, New York, USA
Pink Installation, Ed Varie, New York, USA
2011 New York Art Book Fair with Printed Matter, PS1, New York, USA
Talk to Me, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
This Place in Time, Show & Tell Gallery, Toronto, Canada
Neubacher Shor Contemporary, Toronto, Canada
Hunter & Cook Auction, Diaz Contemporary, Toronto, Canada
I’m Not Here, CONTACT Photography Festival, Toronto, Canada
Made in US, with Tibi Tibi Neuspiel, Creatures of Comfort Project Space, New York, USA
Open Books, Royal College of Art, London, UK
Made in US, with Tibi Tibi Neuspiel, 107 Shaw Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2010 The Fine Line, Openhouse Gallery, New York, USA
Where is Here: Canadian Exhibition, Magenta Flash Forward Festival, Toronto, Canada
Parts of a Hole, Xpace, Toronto, Canada
Stacked, Paul Petro Special Projects, Toronto, Canada
Search Prone, Butcher Gallery, Toronto, Canada
2009 No Theme Group Show, Canteen Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
Wayfaring, Gallery 1313, Toronto, Canada
2020 Sobey Art Award Longlist, Ontario, Canada
2019 Kodak Film Prize, IV Moscow International Experimental Film Festival
2018 Mast Foundation for Photography Grant on Industry and Work
International Film Festival Rotterdam, Ammodo Tiger Short Prize
2016 The Baloise Art Prize, Statements, Art Basel 47
2013 Printed Matter Emerging Artist Publication Series Grant
2012 The Camera Club of New York, Darkroom Residency, Runner-Up Award
2011 Print Magazine, 20 Under 30 New Visual Artist Award
Art Director’s Club Young Guns Award
2009 Kondor Fine Arts Award
2008 Dean’s Prize for Excellence, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University
Commissions and Projects
2021 Public Art and Amenities Framework, Metrolinx, Toronto, ON, Canada 2019 Modern Art in Your Life commissioned by MoMA and streamed on the
Museum’s website and social media platforms
2012 Great Point. Back Yard Projects Benefit, Real Fine Arts, Brooklyn, NY
2011 Made in US (with Tibi Tibi Neuspiel). Creatures of Comfort Projects Space, New York, NY; and 107 Shaw Gallery, Toronto, ON, Canada
Screenings and Lectures
2019 Red Film. IV Moscow International Experimental Film Festival, Russia Color Girl. International Film Festival Routterdam, the Netherlands
2018 Rose Gold and So: Film. International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Seven on Seven conference, organized by Rhizome, New Museum, New York, USA
Artist talk, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA
2017 Rose Gold. Toronto International Film Festival, ON, Canada
2019 Cwynar, Sara. Gilded Age. Ridgefield: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, July 2019.
2016 Cwynar, Sara. Frieze No 81 Sept 2016 (Cover Image) Cwynar, Sara. Canadian Art Fall 2016: 134-9.
2014 “Pictures of Pictures” Published by Printed Mauer (recipient of Emerging Artist Publication Grant), New York, USA
“Kitsch Encyclopedia” Published by Blonde Art Books, New York, USA Fulford, Jason, and Gregory Halpern, eds. The Photographer’s Playbook. New York: Aperture Foundation, 2014. Contributing Artist.
2012 Cwynar, Sara. Lost and Found. New York: The Camera Club of New York, 2012.
Rosler, Martha. Meta-Monumental Newspaper. New York: MoMA, 2012. Contributing Artist.
2011 Cwynar, Sara. “Noise Map.” The New City Reader. New York: New Museum, 2011.
Cwynar, Sara. “One Wall Zine.” Toronto, ON: Self-published, edition of 20, for Art History, 2011.
Cwynar, Sara. “Simulated Landscapes.” Toronto, ON: Self-published, 2011. Cwynar, Sara. “ An Atlas.” 01 Magazine. 2011.
2019 Hannah Stamler. “Sara Cwynar’s Photoshop Proletariat.” The Na2on 11 July 2019. Online.
Elizabeth Karp-Evans. “Sara Cwynar Investigates our Inability to be Original.” Cultured Magazine 2019. Web.
Will Heinrich. “Art: Reflecting on Sara Cwynar’s ‘Rose Gold’ and More.” The New York Times. 5 Mar. 2019. Online.
Karp-Evans, Elizabeth. “Sara Cwynar Investigates Our Inability to be Original,” CULTURED: 30 UNDER 35: 43: Dec/Jan/Feb 2019.
2018 Gosslee, Zises, ed. 50 Contemporary Women Artists: Sara Cwynar. Atglen: Schiffer, 2018: 240-246.
Gabriel Ritter “Sara Cwynar’s Contemporary Nostalgia: On the occasion of her solo exhibition in Minneapolis, the Canadian artist speaks about color and consumerism in the information age.” Aperture 3 Oct. 2018. Online. Greenberger, Alex. “A Market of the Senses: Sara Cwynar Finds Truths and Untruths in Advertising.” ARTNews 21 Nov. 2018. Online.
Eler, Alicia. “NY artist finds the meaning of kitsch: Fantasy of consumerism drives exhibit at Mpls. Institute of Art.” Star Tribune 21 Sept. 2018: E1 &12.
Sayej, Nadja . “Artist Sara Cwynar on Perceptions of Beauty: ‘How do we know what we are seeing is right? Who decides what we see?’” Teen Vogue 26 June 2018. Online.
Whyte, Murray. “At Oakville Galleries, Sara Cwynar’s consumer-fetish landscape, set in motion.” The Star 14 Apr. 2018. Web.
Heti, Sheila. “Should Artists Shop or Stop Shopping?” Affidavit 21 May 2018. Online.
“Ar2st Talk: Sara Cwynar at the Art Institute of Chicago.“The Art Institute of Chicago on Youtube 30 May 2018. Online.
Cwynar, Sara. “Interview with Sara Cwynar, one of the two winners of the Mast Foundation for photography.”C 41 Magazine 15 Feb. 2018. Online. Cwynar, Sara and Juergen Dehm. “Interview: Sara Cwynar.” Artfridge 27 July 2018. Online.
“What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn.” The New York Times Magazine 9 Feb. 2018. Cover image.
Rees, Lucy. “Photographer Sara Cwynar Blends Fashion and Design at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.” Galerie Magazine 19 Sept. 2018. Web.
Murray Whyte, “In our hyper-consumer landscape, Sara Cwynar exposes the rig between image and object”, The Star, Toronto
Rachel Wine Brad Wheeler, “Layered meaning”, The Globe and Mail
Gail Bichler, “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn”, The New York Times, USA
Stamler, Hannah. “Critic’s picks: Sara Cwynar, Foxy Production.” Artforum 21 Apr. 2017. Online.
Goings on About Town: Sara Cwynar.” The New Yorker 21 Apr. 2017: 6.
Miller, Leigh Anne. “THE LOOKOUT: Sara Cwynar.” Art in America 14 Apr. 2017. Online.
Evan Moffitt, “Critic’s Guide: New York”, Frieze, Online.
Andrea K. Scott, “An Artist’s Meditation on Color Reveals a Secret History of Film”, The New Yorker, USA
Rina, Amelia. “5 Exhibitions to See in May.” Aperture 10 May 2017. Online.
Piepenbring, Dan. “Rose Gold.” The Paris Review, 26 Apr. 2017. Online.
Robert Evereu-Green, “Montreal’s Momenta focuses on fact and illusion on photography”, The Globe and Mail
Greenberger, Alex. “Beg, Borrow, Steal: With Several Exhibitions Involving Appropriation, New York Has a Second ‘Pictures’ Moment.” ARTNews 21 Aug 2017. Online.
Vogel, Wendy. “Sara Cwynar, Rose Gold: On the politics of colour in beauty products.” ArtReview Summer 2017. Online.
Thatcher, Jennifer. “Screen Memory: Three London Exhibitions Bring the Past into the Present.” ARTnews 22 May 2017. Online.
Schwendener, Martha. “Sara Cwynar.” The New York Times 12 May 2017: C20.
Doran, Anne. “Sara Cwynar, Rose Gold at Foxy Produc2on.” Collector Daily 5 May 2017. Online.
Abrams, Loney and Will Fenstermake. “10 Artists to Watch this May.” Artspace, May. Online.
Trouillot, Terence. ” 10 Contemporary Artists Taking Photography in New Directions.” artnet News 27 Apr. 2017. Online.
Liberty, Megan. “The Color Paleue of Materialism, from Rose Gold iPhones to Millennial Pink Shopping Bags.” Hyperallergic 1 May 2017. Web.
Wiley, Chris, et al. “A roundtable discussion hosted by Chris Wiley, with Lucas Blalock, Sara Cwynar and Erin Shirreff.” You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred. Ed. Paul Luckrag. London: Zabludowicz Art Projects, 2017: 16-25.
Ariela Giulen, “Sara Cwynar: Between Photography and Design”, BlouinArtinfo (UK)
Blake Gopnik, “In ‘Greater New York’ at PS1, Sara Cwynar Touches the Art”, Artnet
Cwynar, Sara. “Sog Film.” Canadian Art Fall 2016: 134-139.
“The Top 15 Emerging Artists of 2015”, artsy.net
“10 Highlights at PS1’s ‘Greater New York’”, BlouinArtinfo
Cotter, Holland. “If You Leave Me Can I Come Too? A Show Whose Subject Is Death.” The New York Times 25 Dec. 2015: C29.
Cwynar, Sara. Interview Magazine 2 Dec. 2015. Online.
Viveros-Fauné, Christian. “Why Greater New York Signals the Start of a New Confusion.” artnet 14 Oct. 2015. Online.
Meier, Allison. “Art that Acknowledges Death Without Showing the Body.” Hyperallergic 28 Dec. 2015. Online.
Steadman, Ryan. “PS1’s ‘Greater New York’ Gets Sentimental: Uneven show finds an escape hatch from the crowded field of emerging art surveys.” Observer 21 Oct. 2015. Online.
Hegert, Natalie. “Comic Relief: Humor and Playfulness at Frieze New York 2015.” Huffington Post 14 May 2015. Online.
Moss, Hilary. The New York Times Style Magazine 27 June 2015. Online.
Rappaport, Emily. “30 Emerging Artists to Watch During Frieze Week.” Artsy 12 May 2015. Online.
McNelis, Ashley & Legacy Russell. “Sara Cwynar: The origins of nostalgia and some theoretical foundations of photography.” BOMB Magazine 17 Feb. 2015. Online.
New York Times Editorial. New York Times Magazine 22 Feb. 2015. Front Cover.
Kaplan, Michael. “2014 and Beyond: Sara Cwynar. The future of art photography is anything but two-dimensional.” American Photo 07 Jan. 2015. Online.
Bouthillier, Rose. “Sara Cwynar: Flat Death.” C Magazine Sept. 2014: 55-56.
Cattelan, Maurizio. “Show Your True Colors. An Interview with Sara Cwynar by Maurizio Cattelan.” Muse Magazine 11 Aug. 2014. Web.
Sutton, Kate. “Sara Cwynar. Foxy Production, New York.” Frieze 164. June- July. 2014: 216.
Linton, Jackie. “The Recurring Sara Cwynar.” Interview Magazine 4 Apr. 2014. Online.
Brown, Nicholas. “Sara Cwynar.” Cura 30 Mar. 2014: 142-146.
Abeles, Michele, et al. “Recording Images: A Round-Table Interview Curated by Lauren Cornell with Michele Abeles, Sara Cwynar, Jon Rafman & Travess Smalley.” Mousse 43. Apr. 2014: 238-252.
Bohnacker, Siobhan. “Sara Cwynar at Foxy Production.” The New Yorker 3 Apr. 2014. Online.
“Sara Cwynar Makes Something New From Anything Old.” Phaidon 16 Apr. 2014. Online.
Heinrich, Will. “Sara Cwynar: Flat Death.” Gallerist NY 30 Apr. 2014. Online.
Smith, Roberta. “Sara Cwynar: Flat Death.” The New York Times. 25 Apr. 2014: C30.
Britt Gallpen, “Bringing Flat Death to Life”, Canadian Art
2012 “Looking for Cancon at Miami Art Basel?” Mclean’s Magazine, Canada
“Talents to Be Seen”, Foam Magazine, The Netherlands
“Living the Dream” – Surreal Artists Portfolio, Bullett Magazine, New York, USA
The Water Issue, Capricious Magazine, New York, USA
“Sara Cwynar” Behind the Zines: Self Publishing Culture, Gestalten “Sara Cwynar: 20 Under 30 New Visual Artists”, Print Magazine
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
SFMOMA, San Francisco, USA
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library Collection, New York, USA
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, USA
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, USA
Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany
Zabludowicz Collection, London, United Kingdom
Baloise Art Collection, Basel, Switzerland
Fondazione Prada, Milan
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, USA
Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, USA; Paris, France
Dallas Art Museum Collection, Dallas, USA
MoMA Library Collection, New York, USA
Foam Photography Museum Collection, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Sara Cwynar Featured on NYCgo
- Sara Cwynar featured on GARAGE
- Sara Cwynar featured on The New York Times
- Sara Cwynar Announced as Recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 2019 Biennial Grant
- Sara Cwynar Reviewed in Frieze
- Sara Cwynar Reviewed in the Financial Times