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'Dusty' photograph by Catherine Opie, 2007

Catherine Opie (born 1961) is an American artist specializing in issues within documentary photography. Throughout her work she has investigated aspects of community, making portraits of many groups including LGBT community; surfers; and most recently high school football players. She's also interested in how identities are shaped by our surrounding architecture. She is currently a professor of Photography at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Her works are displayed in both museums and galleries internationally. She has numerous catalogues from museum exhibitions which include, Freeways published by MOCA, Los Angeles, Skyways and Ice Houses, published by The Walker Art Center, 1999/In and Around Home published by the Aldrich Museum, and Chicago by the MCA in Chicago.

She obtained a Master's degree from California Institute of the Arts School of Art in 1988. Opie was born in Sandusky, Ohio, and currently lives in Los Angeles.



Catherine Opie has won numerous awards which include the 1997 Citibank Private Bank Emerging Artist Award, 1999 Washington University Freund Fellowship, 2003 CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts, 2004 Larry Aldrich Award, San Francisco Art Institute President's Award for Excellence, and 2006 United States Artist Fellowship.


Her work was featured in a mid-career survey at the Guggenheim Museum in New York from September 26, 2008 till January 7, 2009 curated by Jennifer Blessing. It included an encyclopedic exhibition catalogue of all of Opie's almost 200 works since 1988, loosely divided into two sections: portraits and landscapes. Her works balance personal and political. Her assertive portraits bring queers to a forefront that is normally silenced by societal norms.[1]

She has photographed high school football players throughout America, creating both landscapes and portraits. This body of work is a continuing look at American identity through iconic images and a redefinition of landscape in a photographic practice.


Catherine Opie is represented by Regen Projects, in Los Angeles, CA , Gladstone Gallery in New York, NY, Stephen Friedman Gallery in London, England and Studio Guenzani in Milan, Italy.


  1. ^ Kris Wilton (October 3, 2008), The AI Interview: Catherine Opie, ARTINFO,, retrieved 2008-12-17  

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