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Lynn Stern (b. 1945, New York) is a New York-based photographer who works with black-and-white film and indirect, natural light. Since 1985 she has been doing studio work, using a scrim of translucent white or black fabric, either alone to create abstractions, or combined with symbolic objects. She thinks of the backlit scrim as her ‘medium’; it creates a glow of diffuse light that is a constant in all of her work, although the subject matter may vary from series to series.

Stern’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and is in public collections such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of fine Arts, Houston; the Portland Art Museum (OR); the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Yale University Art Gallery, among others.

Stern was co-editor of Photographic INsight from 1990-1993. She was the organizer and moderator of a two-evening symposium held at New York University in 1991 titled "Examining Postmodernism: Images/Premises" and in 2016 moderated a discussion titled “Perceptual/Conceptual: How Does Art Nourish Us?” in her apartment in New York.

Stern has published six monographs of her work: Unveilings (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1988); essay by Paul Caponigro; Dispossession (New York: Aperture, 1995); essay by Donald Kuspit and a "Highly Commended Book," 1995 Ernst Haas Awards; Animus (Tucson: Nazraeli Press, 2000), essay by Donald Kuspit; Veiled Still Lifes, exhibition catalogue, 2006, essay by Nancy E. Green, Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University; Frozen Mystery: Lynn Stern Photographs 1978-2008, exhibition catalogue (Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón / Center for Creative Photography, 2009), essays by Donald Kuspit, Britt Salvesen, Lynn Stern, George Stolz; and Skull (Thames and Hudson, 2017), featuring her eight series of skulls in their entirety, with an essay by Donald Kuspit contextualizing them within art history.

The Lynn Stern Archive is located at the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson.

Selected Exhibitions


2017 Taka Ishii Gallery, New York, NY

2017 Thomas Gibson Fine Art, London, UK

2012 “Signs Half Seen,” Peter Findlay Gallery, New York, NY

2011 “SEEN/UNSEEN,” Artspace at Untitled, Oklahoma City, OK

2009 “Lynn Stern: Photographs 1978-2008,” Museo Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón, Valladolid, Spain

2007 “Veiled Still Lifes,” Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, NY

2006 “Recent Work,” QCC Art Gallery, Queensborough Community College, New York, NY

2002 “Lynn Stern: Photographs from Ten Series,” Staller Center For the Arts, State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY       

2001 “Lynn Stern,” Kowasa Gallery, Barcelona, Spain

2001 “Lynn Stern: Work on Paper,” Peter Findlay Gallery, New York, NY

2001 “Animus,” Debs & Co., New York, NY

1998  “Recent Work,” Barry Friedman Ltd, New York, NY

1995  “Whiteness,” Gallery BAI, New York, NY

1993 “Lynn Stern: Black and White Photographs,” Scott Nichols Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1990 “Recent Works,” SCP Gallery, Kansas City, KS

1988 “Unveilings,” Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA


2016 “Sensuous and Pensive: At Odds and Overlapping,” Booth Gallery, New York, NY

2008 “First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography, Selections from the Allan Chasanoff Collection,”  Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

2006 “Walpole’s Leap: 8 Modern Garden Perceptions,” Lobby Gallery 499 Park Ave., New York, NY

2005 “Group Show,” Alva Gallery, New London, CT

2002 “What’s New: Recent Photography Acquisitions,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

2001  “Group Show,” Peter Findlay Gallery, New York, NY

2000  “S. Sidney Kahn (1937-1999) Mementi Mori,” Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

1999 “Group Show,” Alva Gallery, New London, CT

1997 “Group Show,” Peter Findlay Gallery, New York, NY

1992 “Traditions in the American Landscape,” Scott Nichols Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1992 “40 Women Photographers,” Silver Image Gallery, Seattle, WA

1989 “Flowers,” Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, DC

1985 “Invitational,” Provincetown Art Museum, Provincetown, MA

1984 “Space Through A Glass Eye: 8 Photographers,” Central State University, Edmond, OK

1980 “4th Annual Small Works Invitational,” New York, NY