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.



Sara Cwynar

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,

Solo Exhibitions

2020 Marilyn, The Approach, London, United Kingdom (Forthcoming)

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

Group Exhibitions

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 dArt Contemporain dOccitane, 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 dart contemporain Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée, Sérignan, France
Fulhames 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

Selected Conferences

2018 Seven on Seven conference, organized by Rhizome, New Museum, New
York, USA
Artist talk, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

Selected Press

2018 Murray Whyte, “In our hyper-consumer landscape, Sara Cwynar exposes the rift between image and object”, The Star, Canada
Rachel Wine Brad Wheeler,
Layered meaning”, The Globe and Mail Gail Bichler, “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn”, The New York Times, USA

2017 Hannah Stamler, “Sara Cwynar”, Artforum
Leigh Anne Miller, “Sara Cwynar”, Art in America, USA
Evan Moffitt, “Critic
s Guide: New York”, Frieze
Andrea K. Scott, “An Artist
s Meditation on Color Reveals a Secret History of Film”, The New Yorker, USA
Dan Piepenbring, The Paris Review
Robert Everett-Green, “Montreal’s Momenta focuses on fact and illusion on photography”, The Globe and Mail

2016 Ariela Gittlen, “Sara Cwynar: Between Photography and Design”, BlouinArtinfo (UK)

Blake Gopnik, “In ‘Greater New York’ at PS1, Sara Cwynar Touches the Art”, Artnet

2015 “The Top 15 Emerging Artists of 2015”,

“10 Highlights at PS1’s ‘Greater New York’”, BlouinArtinfo

2014 Roberta Smith “Sara Cwynar: Flat Death”, The New York Times
Will Heinrich, “Sara Cwynar: ‘Flat Death’ at Foxy Production,” Gallerist NY
“Recoding Images: A Roundtable Interview curated by Lauren Cornell with Michele Abeles, Sara Cwynar, Jon Rafman and Travess Smalley”, Mousse
Nick Brown “Sara Cwynar”, Cura Magazine

2013 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 

2011 “Sara Cwynar” Behind the Zines: Self Publishing Culture, Gestalten
“Sara Cwynar: 20 Under 30 New Visual Artists”, Print Magazine

Selected Publications

2014 “Pictures of Pictures” Published by Printed Matter (recipient of Emerging Artist Publication Grant), New York, USA

“Kitsch Encyclopedia” Published by Blonde Art Books, New York, USA

2012 “Lost & Found” Published by The Camera Club of New York, New York, USA 


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



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