b. Los Angeles, CA 1949

John Divola received a B.A. from California State University, Northridge in 1971 and completed his M.F.A. from University of California, Los Angeles in 1974. Divola’s career spans four decades, focusing on the conceptions and limitations of photography. Although the photographer has a fascination with physical objects that range from buildings to landscapes, his concerns are purely conceptual as they challenge the boundaries between fiction and reality, the abstract and the specific.

In his Vandalism (1973-75) series, Divola comments on the role of the photographer as synonymous to the graffiti artist, making his own marks and emulsions in an abandoned building. His fascination with inhabitable houses led him to Zuma (1997), a body of work that documents the man-made interiors of buildings that are corroded and vandalized in contrast to the exterior of sunsets and shorelines. The physical relationship between man-made interventions and its immediate surroundings emphasize the distance between image and reality.

Photographing manipulated and inhabitable environments and applying his own interventions, Divola explores the relation between real and artificial representations of the image. For Divola, photography functions as a transcendental medium, accommodating performance and manipulation of perception.

Education


1974 M.F.A. University of California, Los Angeles
1973 M.A. University of California, Los Angeles
1971 B.A. California State University, Northridge

Teaching


2004-06 Faculty Director, Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside
1991-96 Chair, Art Department, University of California, Riverside
1988- Professor, Art Department, University of California, Riverside
1978-88 Instructor, Art/Photography, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California
1976-80 Instructor, Art/ Photography, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
1975-79 Instructor, Art/ Photography, Immaculate Heart College, Los Angeles

Selected Solo Exhibitions


2017 Physical Evidence, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA
John Divola, Time to Stop, Gallery Pedro Alfacinha, Lisbon, Portugal
The Green of This Notebook, Maccarone Gallery, New York, NY
2016 Dents And Abrasions, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA
Spotlight: John Divola, Gallery Luisotti, Frieze NYC, NY
Theodore Street Project, Maccarone Gallery, New York, NY
2015 Despite Intentions, Pedro Alfacinha Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal
2014 Clive Wearing's Dilemma, Wallspace Gallery, NY
2013 Echo Chamber, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA
Sand for the Desert, Photo Levallois, Levallois, France
John Divola: As Far As I Could Get, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Pomona College Museum of Art, CA
2012 Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London
Surface Conditions: The Photographs of John Divola, Kunstverein Freiburg, Germany
Notes on the Observer, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA
2011 John Divola: Vandalism, LAXART, Los Angeles, CA
Trees of the Forest, Wallspace Gallery, New York, NY
Present Tense, Riverside Art Museum, CA
2010 The Green of this Notebook, LAXART, Los Angeles, CA
2009 Dark Star, Gallery Luisotti, Santa Monica, CA
2007 Edenhurst Gallery, Palm Desert, CA
2006 Charles Cowles Gallery, NY, NY
Patricia Faure Gallery, Los Angeles, California
2005 Arles Recontres De La Photographie, Espace Van Gogh, Arles, France
2004 Charles Cowles Gallery, New York
2003 Patricia Faure Gallery, Los Angelesm, CA
2001 Marella Arte Contemporanea, Milan
Janet Borden Gallery, New York
Palm Springs Museum of Art, Jorgensen Gallery, Palm Springs, CA
2000 Patricia Faure Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1999 G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle
Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR
1998 Patricia Faure Gallery, Los Angeles
1997 Wooster Gardens, New York
Jessica Fredericks Gallery, New York
1992 Rewdex Contemporary Art Gallery, Kyoto, Japan
1990 Galerie Niki Diana Marquardt, Paris
1987 Seibu Gallery, Tokyo
Gallery Min, Tokyo (Catalog)
1986 Jayne Baum Gallery, New York
1985 John Divola: Selected Work, 1974-85, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park, CA
1983 The Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
1982 University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM
1981 Gallerie Del Cavallino, Venice, IT
1980 The Photographers Gallery, Melbourne
1979 Henry Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle
Camera Obscura, Stockholm
Print Galleri, Copenhagen, Copenhagen
1978 Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Image Gallery, Aarhus, Denmark
1976 The Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
1975 Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions


2017 Autophoto, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Golden State, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
2016 The Sun Placed in the Abyss, Columbus Museum of Art, OH
Los Angeles – A Fiction, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway
Strength in Numbers: Photography in Groups, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
How Things Shouldn't Be Done, Galerie Gisela Clement, Bonn, Germarny
Ansel Adams to Edward Weston: Celebrating the Legacy of David H. McAlpin, Princeton University Art Museum, NJ
Refenestration, Tif Sigfrids, Los Angeles, CA
a Handful of Dust, Pratt Institute Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
California and The West, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
UNdocumenta, Asia Cultural Center, Gwangju, South Korea
Under A Falling Sky, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, UK
Still Life With Fish: Photography From the Collection, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Some Lifestyle Options, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
Low, Lyles & King, New York, NY
Ordinary Pictures, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
2015 Unidades y Continuidades, Kurimanzutto Gallery, Mexico
A Handful of Dust, Le Bal, Paris
Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art & Artifact, The Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, NY
Russian Doll, M+B Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Popular Images, Karma, NYC, NY
Human-Altered Landscapes, Cincinnati Art Museum, OH
In Appreciation: Gifts in Honor of Anne Wilkes Tucker, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Lost in a Sea of Red, The Pit, Glendale, CA
Take One: Contemporary Photographs, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Images Moving Out Onto Space, Tate St. Ives, UK
2013 No Bingo For Felons, Arcadia University Art Gallery, PA
Black Rabbit White Hole, Samuel Freeman, Los Angeles, CA
2012 Lost & Found: Anonymous Photography in Reflection, Ambach & Rice, LA
The Unspecific Index, 601 Artspace, NYC
Coquilles Mécaniques, CRAC Alsace, France
This was Funny Yesterday, UCSB College of Creative Studies, CA
L'idée Fixe, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA
Now Here is Nowhere, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA
No Person May Carry a Fish Into a Bar, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA
Sight Specific: LACPS and the Politics of Community, USC Fisher Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-82, Palm Springs Art Museum, CA
The End, Vogt Gallery, New York, NY
2011 Aftershocks: The Western Landscape Today, University of California Riverside, CA
In Focus: The Sky, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, Museum of Contemporary Art, LA, CA
The Unseen Eye: Photographs from the W.M. Hunt Collection, The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography, Rochester, NY
Despite Intentions: John Divola and Amir Zaki, Angles Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Electronic Age, Henry Art Gallery, WA
The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
Street Sight, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA
California Continued: New Approaches in West Coast Photography, Smith Andersen North Gakery, San Anselmo, CA
Palms Won’t Grow Here and Other Myths, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London
2010 Sunless (Journeys in Alta California since 1933), Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Spectral, Galician Center for Contemporary Arts, Santiago, Spain
The Artist Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Inscription…text…image…action…, Cerritos College Art Gallery, Norwalk, CA
The Fleeting Glimpse : Selections in Modern and Contemporary Photography, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA
Swagger, Drag, Fit Together, Wallspace Gallery, New York, NY
Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980, Cincinnati Art Museum
View from Here, San Francisco Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
2009 Neil Campbell/John Divola/Tobias Kaspar/Matthew Smith, Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, BE
The Conspiracy, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland
Animal Kind, University Art Gallery, San Diego State University, CA
Sundown, Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
Reality Check: Truth and Illusion in Contemporary Photography, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the West, The Museum Of Modern Art, NY, NY
2008 On the Ground in L.A., Carl Berg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
This side of Paradise: Body and Language in L.A. Photography, The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
2006 A Piece of History from LA… But Not Paris, Charles Cowles Gallery, New York, NY
666, USC Roski School of Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles 1955-85, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
2005 Arles Recontres de la Photographie, Escpace Van Gogh, Arles, France
2004 Esperando Unha Chamada (Awaiting a Call), The Centro Galago de Arte Contemporanea, Galicia, Spain
2002 Imago 2002, Museo de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain (Catalog)
New Acquisitions / New Work / New Directions 3: Contemporary Selections, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Friends of the West, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
2001 Capturing Light: Masterpieces of California Photography 1950 to the Present, Oakland Museum of California, CA
Blind Date, Three Person Exhibition, Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York
Modern Times III/Something Happened, Hasselblad Center, Goteborg, Sweden
2000 Photography: Process, Preservation, and Conservation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Architecture Hot and Cold, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity 1900-2000, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA (Catalog)
Beyond Boundaries,: Contemporary Photography in California, Santa Barbara Contemporary Art Forum, CA
COLA Exhibition, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (Catalog)
1999 William Eggleston and the Color Tradition, Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Innovation/Imagination: 50 Years of Polaroid Photography, Friends of Photography, Ansel Adams Center, San Francisco, CA (Catalog).
1998 Desapercibidos, Wim Winders and John Divola, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico
Ghost Story, Kunstlerhaus, Vienna, Austria
1997 Scene of The Crime, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (Catalog)
1996 Crossing the Frontier: Photographs of the Developing West, 1849 to the Present, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (Catalog)
Perpetual Mirage: The Desert in American Photographic Books and Prints, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (Catalog)
1995 The Photographic Condition, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
PLAN: Photography L.A. Now, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Photo Biennale, Enschede (Obsessions. From Wunderkammer to Cyberspace), Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enchede, Netherlands (Catalog)
1994 After Art: Rethinking 150 Years of Photography, Henry Gallery, Seattle, WA (Catalog)
1993 Multiple Images; Photographs since 1965 from the Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
1992 Proof: Los Angeles Art and Photography, 1960-80, Laguna Art Museum, Traveling, Laguna, CA (Catalog)
More Than One Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York
1991 Individual Realities in the California Art Scene, Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan (Catalog)
1989 California Photography: Remaking Make Believe, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 89 (Catalog)
Constructed Realities, Kunstverein Munchen, Germany, (Catalog)
The Photography of Invention: American Pictures of the 1980's, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., (Catalog)
1987-89 Photography and Art: 1945-Present, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA, (Catalog)
1984 California Photography:1945-1980, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, (Catalog)
1981 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, (Catalog)
1978 Mirrors and Windows, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, (Catalog)

Selected Public Collections


Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia
Berkeley Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris
Carnegie Institute, Detroit
Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Chicago Art Institute, Chicago
Denver Art Museum, Denver
Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
Hammer Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
The International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art, Tokyo
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Philadelphia Art Museum, Philadelphia
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Awards and Honors

2004 Rome Prize – Declined
1998 COLA, City of Los Angeles Artist Grant
 California Arts Council Grant
1997-98 Flintridge Foundation Fellowship
1990-91 National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship
1986-87 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship
1979-80 National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship
1976-77 National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship
1973-74 National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship