Martha Rosler (American, b.1943) is a photographer and video, installation, and performance artist, as well as a writer and educator. Born in Brooklyn, Rosler received her BA from Brooklyn College in 1965, and went on to obtain an MFA in 1974 from the University of California, San Diego. She has taught at the Städelschule, a Contemporary Fine Arts academy in Frankfurt, and at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Rosler is also a well-known writer on art and culture, and lectures both nationally and internationally.

In 2000, Rosler’s work was the subject of a retrospective entitled Martha Rosler: Positions in the Life World, which was shown at the New Museum and the International Center of Photography in New York, as well as in Europe, in Birmingham, England; Vienna, Austria; Lyon/Villeurbanne, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Rotterdam, Holland. Other notable exhibitions include a solo show at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2012 titled Meta-Monumental Garage Sale, which revisited a series of exhibitions she held in the 1970s that focused on the American garage sale.

Many of her works focus on themes of entitlement and dispossession, as well as on the contrast between the domestic lives of women and war, repression, and politics. Her writing and photography on infrastructure, including roads, air transportation, and subways, address urban planning and architecture, from housing to homelessness and the built environment. She uses a variety of media, but is best known for her work with photo-collage and photo-text.

Rosler’s essays have been published in magazines and catalogs, such as Grey Room, Artforum, Quaderns, and Afterimage. Her essay on photographic documentary In, Around, and Afterthoughts first written in 1981, was republished and translated several times. Her writing is also contained in edited collections, including Women Artists at the Millennium, published by MIT press in 2006. In addition, Rosler has received numerous awards, such as the Anonymous Was A Woman Award, the Oskar Kokoschka Prize, and the Spectrum International Prize in Photography.

Rosler has also published over 10 books on art and photography, including In the Place of the Public: Observations of a Frequent Flyer (1999), Paul Chan / Martha Rosler (Between Artists) in 2006, and Decoys and Disruptions: Selected Essays 1975–2001 (2004).

To learn more, visit artnet News to read an interview with the artist about her life and work.

Timeline

1943
Born in Brooklyn, NY
1965
BA, Brooklyn College
1974
MFA, University of California, Sand Diego
1975
National Endowment for the Arts Artists’ Fellowship, Conceptual Art
1976
National Endowment for the Arts Critic’s Fellowship
1980
National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship in Video
1983
National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship in Video
1985
New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Video
1989
Honorable mention, Best Documentary, for Born to Be Sold, 13th Atlanta Film and Video Festival
1994
National Endowment for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship in Photography
1996
New York Foundation for the Arts Catalogue Grant in Photography
2005
Spectrum Prize: The International Prize for Photography of the Foundation of Lower Saxony (Germany)
2006
Oskar Kokoschka Prize (Austria)
Currently teaches at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ