Andreas Gursky (German, b.1955) is a photographer best known for his colorful, bold, large-format depictions of contemporary life. Gursky was born in Leipzig, Germany, and grew up in Düsseldorf, where his father worked as a commercial photographer. In his early 20s, he studied photography at the Folkwang School, West Germany’s leading establishment for professional photographers. His early, unadorned compositions are heavily influenced by his years at Folkwang, where the curriculum was largely focused on the straight-shot techniques of photojournalism. In the early 1980s, Gursky studied under the internationally recognized photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, 1931–2007; German, b.1934) at the State Art Academy. During his years at the academy, Gursky was heavily influenced by the conceptual aesthetic philosophy of the Bechers, as well as his fellow students Sigmar Polke (German, 1941–2010) and Gerhard Richter (German, b.1932).

His early work was first considered to be an extension of the Becher aesthetic, but became recognized as uniquely ‘Gursky’ as he moved away from their teachings, producing large-scale color photographs with an almost manic documentation of detail. His mature work developed rapidly after 1990, as he began to focus on scenes and places representing the international sentiment of contemporary society. Excessive detail became a hallmark of his contemporary idiom, evident in photographs such as 99 Cent and the May Day series. Today his work continues to depict scenes occurring in immediately recognizable urban spaces, ranging from department stores and hotels to the German Parliament and the Chicago Board of Trade.

Timeline

1955
Born in Leipzig
1978–1980
Folkwangschule (GHS), Essen, 1978-1981
1980
Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, 1981-1987
1981
First exhibition
1985
Studied with Bernd Becher (Meisterschüler)
1988
First solo gallery show at the Galerie Johnen & Schöttle
Lives and works in Düsseldorf

Exhibitions

2013
Andreas Gursky, The National Art Center, Tokyo (solo)
2013
30th Council of Europe Art Exhibition: The Desire for Freedom – Art in Europe since 1945, Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn
2013
CONTEMPORARY GERMAN ART: Selections from the Permanent Collection’, Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis
2013
Panorama. Landscapes 2013-1969’, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City
2013
‘Nowadays’, The George Economou Collection, Athens
2013
‘ECONOMY’, Stills Edinburgh and CCA Glasgow
2012
‘View Point’, Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam
2012
‘Lost Place: Sites of Photography’, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
2012
‘Conversations: Photography from the Bank of America Collection’, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
2012
Circus Wols’, Museum Weserburg, Bremen
2012
The Inverted Mirror: Art from the Collections of "la Caixa" Foundation and MACBA’, Guggenheim Museum
2012
Andreas Gursky, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf (solo)
2012
Andreas Gursky, Louisiana Museum, Denmark (solo)
2012
Andreas Gursky, Gagosian, Hong Kong (solo)
2012
Bilbao ‘Envisioning Buildings’, MAK, Vienna
2011
‘The Art of Deceleration: Motion and Rest in Art from Caspar David Friedrich to Ai Weiwei’, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
2011
Structure and Absence’, White Cube, London
2011
Wunder’, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
2011
Made in Italy’ Gagosian, Rome
2011
Undeniably Me’, Galeries Rudolfinium, Prague
2011
Andreas Gursky, Gagosian, New York (solo)
2010
‘Andreas Gursky’, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California (solo)
2010
‘Andreas Gursky’, Spruth Magers, Berlin (solo)
2010
‘Art of the 1980s: A Dusseldorf Perspective’ K21, Dusseldorf
2010
New Work’ Matthew Marks, New York
2010
Brave New World’, MUDAM, Luxembourg
2009
Prix Pictet Prize, Purdy Hicks Gallery, London; Passage de Retz, Paris
2009
‘Works 80-08’ Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver (solo)
2009
‘Andreas Gursky’, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (solo)
2009
Prix Pictet Prize, Purdy Hicks Gallery, London; Passage de Retz, Paris
2009
Who’s Afraid of the Artists?’, Palais des Arts de Dinard, Dinard
2009
Against the Grain; 15 Years of Collecting,’ Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg
2009
Re-Imagining Asia’, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall
2008
La photographie à Düsseldorf’, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris
2008
Traces du Sacre’, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
2008
Carte Blanche: Friendly enemies’, Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany
2008
Art is for the Spirit: Works from The UBS Art Collection’, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
2008
Fotokunstler aus NRW in Frankreich’, Musse d’Art Moderne, Paris
2008
‘Andreas Gursky’, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (solo)
2008
‘Andreas Gursky’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (solo)
2008
‘Works 80 – 08’, Museen Haus Lange, Haus Esters, Krefeld (solo)
2008
‘Andreas Gursky’, Architektur, Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, Germany (solo)
2008
‘Andreas Gursky’s Personal Exhibition’, The Cultural Foundation Ekaterina, Moscow (solo)
2008
‘Andreas Gursky’, Centre d’Art et de Nature de Chaumont-sur-Loire, Chaumont-sur-Loire, France (solo)
2008
Andreas Gursky’, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev (solo)
2008
Andreas Gursky’, Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt am Main (solo)
2007–2008
Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland
2007
“Retrospektive 1984-2007,” Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (solo)
2007
"Unter Sternen. Aus der Sammlung Willy Michel. Fotografie", Museum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf, Schweiz
2007
"What does the Jellyfish want?", Museum Ludwig, Köln, Germany
2007
"Concept: Photography ­ Dialogues & Attitudes", Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary
2007
"Ziemlich hoch. Das Alpine in der zeitgenössischen Kunst", Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren, Kaufbeuren, Germany
2007
"Un/Fair Trade", Neue Galerie, Graz, Schweiz
2007
"Perspektive 07", Lenbachhaus München, Munich,Germany
2007
"Flash Cube", Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2007
Galerie Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers, London, England
2007
White Cube, London, England
2007
Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Türkei
2006
“Surprise, Surprise,” Institute of Contemporary Arts, London,England
2006
“Thank you for the Music (London Beat),” Sprüth Magers Lee, London, England
2006
“Click Doubleclick,” Haus der Kunst, München/Munich; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brüssel/Brussels, Germany
2006
“Spectacular City. Photographing the Future,” Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2005
“Landscape/Cityscape,” Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY
2005
“Anota la Fecha,” Museo de Arte Contemporneo de Castilla y Leon, Leon, Spanien/Spain
2005
“Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today,” Whitechapel, London; weitere Stationen/traveled to Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy
2005
“Contemporary Voices”, UBS Art Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
2005
“Discovery of the Horizontal,” Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bozen/Bolzano, Italy
2005
“Superstars: From Warhol to Madonna,” Kunstforum & Kunsthalle Wien/Vienna, Austria
2005
“Getting Emotional,” Institute of Contemporary Arts, Boston, MA
2005
“Empreinte Moi: Une Exposition de Phillipe Ségalot,” Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
2005
“Why Pictures Now,” Museum Moderner Kunst, Wien/Vienna, Austria
2004
“Made in Mexico/Hecho en Mexico,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston,MA
2004
“The Explosive Photography,” Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY
2004
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York,NY (solo)
2004
Galerie Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers, Köln/Cologne, Germany (solo)
2004
“100 Artists See God,” The Jewish Museum of Art, San Francisco; weitere Stationen/traveled to Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Albright College Freedman Art Gallery, Reading, Pennsylvania and Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee
2004
"La condicion humana,“ Forum Universal de las Culturas Barcelona 2004, Barcelona, Spain
2004
"Love/Hate from Magritte to Cattelan. Masterpieces from the Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago,“ Villa Manin Centro d’Arte Contemporanea, Passariano, Italy
2004
"ON SIDE,“ Centro de Artes Visuais, Encontros de Fotografia, Coimbra, Portugal
2004
“Metamorph,” Venice Biennale, International Architecture, Venice, Italy
2004
“The Ten Commandments,” Deutsches Hygiene Museum, Dresden, Germany
2004
Made in Mexico, ICA Boston, Boston, MA
2003
Cruel and tender, Tate Modern, London,England
2003
Berlin-Moskau Moskau-Berlin 1950-2000, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
2003
Cruel and Tender, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
2003
“Stranger in the Village,” Guild Hall, New York, NY, organized by the MoMA
2003
“Affinities…Now and Then,” Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas
2003
“The Squared Circle: Boxing in Contemporary Art,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
2003
“Objective Spaces: Photographers from Germany,” Waddington Galleries, London, England
2003
“Antipodes,” White Cube, London, England (solo)
2003
“Moving Pictures,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; weitere Stationen/ traveled to Solomon R. Gugenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
2003
“Painting Pictures,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
2003
“Unreal Estate Opportunities,” pkm gallery, Seoul, Korea
2003
“Imagine, you are standing here in front of me,” Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, Netherlands
2003
“Imperfect Innocence. The Debra and Dennis Scholl Collection,” Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, Lake Worth, FL
2003
“Torn Between Two Lovers,” Matthew Marks Gallery, New York , NY
2003
"Le Stanze dell’Arte: Figure e Imagini del XX Secolo,“ Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy
2003
"The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes,“ Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery, Florenz/Florence, Italy
2003
"Von Körpern und anderen Dingen – Deutsche Fotografie von der Weimarer bis zur Berliner Republik,“ City Gallery Prague; weitere Stationen/traveled to: Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany; The Museum Moscow House of Photography, Russia
2003
"Defying Gravity: Contemporary Art and Flight,“ North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
2002
Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (solo)
2002
Galleri K, Oslo, Norway (solo)
2002
Zwischen Schönheit und Sachlichkeit, Kunsthalle Emden, Embden, Germany
2002
Shopping, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt, Germany
2002
Moments which I intend to remember, Staatgalerij Heerlen, Heerlen, Netherlands
2002
Art & Economy, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany
2002
heute bis jetzt, museum kunst palast, Düsseldorf, Germany
2002
Becher Schüler, Galerie 22, Hamburg, Germany
2002
Positionen der Fotografie, Galerie Fahnemann, Berlin, Germany
2002
Die Stadt, Städtische Galerie Haus Coburg, Delmenhorst, Germany
2002
Malerei ohne Malerei, Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, Germany
2002
Moving Pictures, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
2002
Remix, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
2001
Szenenwechsel XIX, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2001
Let's entertain - Life's Guilty Pleasures, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
2001
GeldLust - ModellBanking, Kunsthalle Tirol, Tirol, Austria
2001
Das flache Land, Brandenburgische Kunstsammlungen Cottbus, Cottbus, Germany
2001
Die Kunst des Autos, Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Osnabrück, Germany
2001
Andreas Gursky, Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 4-May 15. Travels to the Reina Sofia, Madrid, Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (solo)
2001
Andreas Gursky: Photographs, The Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts, ASU Art Museum, Nelson Fine Arts Center, Tempe, AZ (solo)
2001
Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan, Italy (solo)
2001
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2000
How You Look At It, Sprengel Museum, Hanover. Travels to Frankfurt, Germany
2000
Ansicht—Aussicht—Einsicht, Museum, Bochum. Travels to Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig and Galeria Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow, Poland
2000
Landmark Pictures in Boston: Ed Ruscha/Andreas Gursky, Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge, MA
2000
Sydney Bienalle, Sydney, Australia
2000
Photography Now, Contemporary Arts Museum, New Orleans, LA
2000
Szenenwechsel XVIII, Museum für moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2000
Walker Evans & Company, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
2000
Photography Now, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
2000
Andreas Gursky: Fotowerken (Photo Works), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
1999
Robert Grosvenor, Andreas Gursky, John Wesley, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
1999
The Big Picture: Large-Format Photography, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT
1999
Raume: Lucinda Devlin, Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria
1999
Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky, Ed Ruscha: Grosse Illusionen, Kunstmuseum Bonn. Travels to Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL
1999
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1999
Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA (solo)
1998
Milwaukee Art Museum. Travels to Henry Art Gallery, Columbus Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (solo)
1998
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. Travels to Photomuseum Winterthur, Serpentine Gallery, London, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)
1998
Landschaften/Landscapes: Michael Bach, Andreas Gursky, Axel Hütte, Michael van Ofen, Andreas Schön, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
1998
Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize 1998, The Photographer’s Gallery, London, England
1997
Michael Ashkin, Andreas Gursky and Fischli & Weiss, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
1997
Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1997
Javier Lopez, Madrid, Spain (solo)
1997
Galerie Mai 36, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
1997
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (solo)
1997
About Painting, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY
1997
Young German Artists 2, Saatchi Gallery, London, England
1997
Belladonna, ICA, London, England
1997
Positionen künstlerischer Photographie in Deutschland seit 1945, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Germany
1996
Victoria Miro, London, England (solo)
1996
Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris, France (solo)
1996
Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, Germany (solo)
1996
Galerie Jean Bernier, Athens, Greece (solo)
1995
303 Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1995
Rooseum, Center for Contemporary Art, Malmöm, Sweden (solo)
1995
Galerie Mai 36, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
1995
Andreas Gursky: Images, Tate Gallery, Liverpool, United Kingdom (solo)
1995
Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (solo)
1994
Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
1994
De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam (solo)
1994
Le Case D’Arte, Milan, Italy (solo)
1993
Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, Germany (solo)
1992
Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
1992
Victoria Miro Gallery, London, England (solo)
1992
Galleria Lia Rumma, Naples, Italy (solo)
1992
Hypobank, New York, NY (solo)
1991
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (solo)
1991
Galerie Johnen & Schöttle, Cologne, Germany (solo)
1991
303 Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1991
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Paris, France (solo)
1991
Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (solo)
1989
Centre Genevois de Gravure Contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
1989
The Clocktower, P.S.1, New York, NY (solo)
1989
303 Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1989
Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany (solo)
1988
Galerie Johnen & Schöttle, Cologne, Germany (solo)
1987
Flughafen Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany (solo)