Sarah Charlesworth (American, 1947–2013) was an American Conceptual artist and photographer. She is considered part of the Pictures Generation, a group of artists working in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Charlesworth was born in East Orange, NJ. She received her BA from Barnard College in 1969. Prior to that, she studied under Douglas Huebler at Bradford College. After completing her studies, she also studied briefly under the photographer Lisette Model at the New School. After college, she worked as a freelance photographer, and became active in the New York City art scene.

In 1975, Charlesworth and fellow Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth founded The Fox, a magazine dedicated to art theory. Then, in 1981, she co-founded BOMB magazine. In the 1970s, Charlesworth photographed the front pages of different newspapers, often focusing on the political and social issues of the day. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Charlesworth began to photograph actual objects.

Throughout her career, Charlesworth held various teaching positions at New York University, New York, NY; the School of Visual Arts (SVA), New York, NY; and Hartford University, Hartford, CT.

Charlesworth's work was the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions at institutions around the world, including the Centre d'art contemporain, Geneva (1977) and the Queens Museum of Art, New York (1992). Her work was also featured in the Whitney Biennial (1985) and the Venice Biennale (1986).

Charlesworth's work is included in the collections of many international museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; among others. Charlesworth received several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1976, 1980, and 1983), as well as from the New York State Creative Artists Public Service (1977), and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship Award for Visual Art (1995).

Charlesworth lived and worked in New York City and in Falls Village, CT. She died of a brain aneurysm on June 25, 2013 at the age of 66.


Born in East Orange, NJ
BA, Barnard College, New York, NY
Died in Falls Village, CT


Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; “Belief and Doubt” (4 August – 1 October) (solo)
Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York, NY; “The Other Side” (5 May – 30 June) (solo)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; “Recent Acquisitions in Contemporary Photography” (4 April- 15 October)
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; “75 Years of Collecting American Photography” (28 April – 31 July)
Grey Art Gallery, New York, NY (10 January - 1 April)
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (27 May – 3 September)
“The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974 -1984”, curated by Carlo McCormick in consultation with Lynne Gumpert and Marvin J. Taylor (cat.)
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Concrete Color (28 October – 25 November) (solo)
Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, Simple Text (Nov-Dec) (solo)
Von Lintel Gallery, New York, NY; “The Photograph in Question” (9 June – 29 July)
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ; “For Presentation and Display: Some Art of the 80s” curated by Johanna Burton and Hal Foster; (19 March – 12 June)
Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; “Covering the Real” (01 May- 21 August) (cat.)
Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO; 0 + 1 (11 Feb. – 10 March) (solo)
Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York; Neverland (22 Nov. – 22 Dec) (solo)
Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York, NY; 0 + 1 (solo)
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; 0 + 1 (solo)
Site, Santa Fe, NM; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Sarah Charlesworth, A Retrospective, curated by Louis Grachos and Susan Fisher Sterling (cat.) (solo)
Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Doubleworld (solo)
Camera Obscura, S. Casciano dei Bagni, Italy (solo)
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Doubleworld (solo)