Lucas Samaras (American/Greek, b.1936) is a painter, sculptor, and photographer associated with the Fluxus movement in his early career, and later known for exploring his self-image through Polaroids and boxed environments. Samaras became interested in Performance Art during his undergraduate studies at Rutgers University under Allan Kaprow (American, 1929–2006) in 1955. He participated in the Happenings organized by Kaprow, and studied acting at the Stella Adler Studio Theater. Samaras began working with photography in 1973, when an employee of the Polaroid Corporation commissioned him to experiment with the new SX-70 camera for an exhibition at the Light Gallery in New York. For the self-portraits in his Photo Transformations series, Samaras altered the surface of the Polaroid as it developed, a method that playfully obscures his identity and recalls the technique of automatism used by the Surrealists. Samaras’s early work includes a number of multi-media boxes that juxtapose apparent beauty with sensory reactions of pain and repulsion. His recent work continues to explore the self-portrait by manipulating a wide variety of media, including photography, painting, installation, jewelry, and found objects. Samaras has had more than 100 solo exhibitions worldwide, including retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Athens. Samaras’s work can be found across 45 public collections, notably the Australian National Gallery in Canberra, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. In 2009, his Paraxena installation represented Greece during the Venice Biennale.

Timeline

1936
Born in Kastoria, Macedonia, Greece

Exhibitions

2006
Odyssey Greek Art from the last fifty years, Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, Suisse
2005
Lucas Samaras. PhotoFlics (iMovies) and Photo-Fictions (A to Z), PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York, USA
2005
Lucas Samaras. Retrospective, National Galery of Athens –Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens, Greece
2003–2004
Unrepentant Ego : The Self-Portraits of Lucas Samaras, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA
2003
Lucas Samaras: Photofictions, Pace Wildenstein, New York, USA
2003
Summer Travels, PaceWildenstein, New York, USA
2003
Me, Myself and I: Looking at Portraiture, CRG Gallery, New York, USA
2003
A Happening Place, The Gershman Y, Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia, USA
2002
'Mutations', Galerie Xippas, Paris, France (Solo)
2001
'Lucas Samaras', Pace Wildenstein, New York, USA (Solo)
2000
'Sittings', 1978-1980, Galerie Xippas, Paris, France (Solo)
1999
Lucas Samaras: Reconstructions, Jay Grimm New York, NY (Solo)
1998–1999
Lucas Samaras: Gold, Pace Wildenstein New York, NY (Solo)
1997
Lucas Samaras: Photo-Transformations, PaceWildenstein Los Angeles, CA
1997
Lucas Samaras: Photo-Transformations 1973-1976, Galerie Xippas Paris, France
1996–1997
Lucas Sameras: Pastels, PaceWildenstein Los Angeles, CA