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Sarah Morris (b. 1967)


Midtown (1998)
AM/PM (1999)
Capital (2000)


Born in the U.K. in 1967, Sarah Morris attended Brown University, Cambridge University, and the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program. She received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting Award in 2001, and in 1999-2000 was an American Academy Award, Berlin Prize Fellow. She has exhibited widely—at Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009), Museo d'Arte Moderna, Bologna (2009), Fondation Beyeler, Riehan/Basel (2008), Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (2008), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005), Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2005), Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen (2004), Miami MOCA (2002), Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (2002), and Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001), among others.

Since the mid-1990s, Morris has been internationally recognized for her complex abstractions and films, which play with architecture and the psychology of urban environments. Morris views her paintings as parallel to her films - both trace urban, social and bureaucratic topologies. In both these media, she explores the psychology of the contemporary city and its architecturally encoded politics. Morris assesses what today's urban structures, bureaucracies, cities and nations might conceal and surveys how a particular moment can be inscribed and embedded into its visual surfaces. Often, these non-narrative fictional analyses result in studies of conspiratorial power, structures of control, and the mapping of global socio-political networks.

Morris uses a conceptual strategy of duality in her films, which investigate both the surface of a city - its architecture and geography - as well as its 'interior': the psychology of its inhabitants and key players. To do this, Morris employs very different kinds of cinematography - from documentary recording to apparently narrative scenarios - which work as a method of visual distraction, a way of exploring the urban environment, and more particularly its issues of social power and representation. In her films, "Midtown" (New York), 1998, "AM/PM" (Las Vegas), 1999, "Capital" (Washington D.C.), 2000, "Miami", 2002, "Los Angeles", 2004, and "Beijing", 2008, Morris gives her attention to the special character of these exceptional places. Because of their particular cultural, commercial, and political configurations, the cities' appearances differ markedly. In the works, Morris treats each city as a self-referential system. Her work is a visualization of the almost imperceptible interweaving of power and daily urban routine. In "Robert Towne" (2006) and "1972" (2008), the lens shifts from a wide view of a city to an intimate portrait. Morris investigates the psychology, architecture and aesthetic of the city filtered through a complex character. Both films explored various ways of working in relation to the politics of the city.

Morris has developed site-specific projects for institutions internationally over the past 10 years, including commissions at K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen Museum, Düsseldorf (2010), Gateway School of Science, New York (2010), Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2009), Museo d'Arte Moderna, Bologna (2009), Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel (2008), Public Art Fund/Lever House (2006), Key Biscayne, Miami (2005), Palais de Tokyo (2005), UBS Zurich Headquarters (2001) and ICA Boston (1999).