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Catherine Wagner (American, b.1953)
LOT ID: 72776
Gonzales Elementary School, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1986

Silver Print, gelatin silver print
8.5 х 11.5 in. (21.59 x 29.21 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated on verso.
Lot description
(21.6 x 29.2 cm)

Catherine Wagner (b. 1953) is an artist who works with elements of contemporary society and transforms them into conceptual images that investigate culture. For over thirty years she has been a keen observer of the built environment, examining institutions of learning and knowledge, such as art museums and science labs, as well as the ways we construct our cultural identity. Ms. Wagner’s process involves the investigation of what art critic David Bonetti calls "the systems people create, our love of order, our ambition to shape the world, the value we place on knowledge, and the tokens we display to express ourselves."

While Ms. Wagner has spent her life residing in California, she has also been an active international artist, working on collaborations, site-specific installations, and lecturing extensively at museums and universities. She has received many major awards, including the inaugural Visual Arts Fellowship from the San Jose Museum of Art, a Guggenheim Fellowship, NEA Fellowships, an award from Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue, and the Ferguson Award. Ms. Wagner was also named one of Time Magazine’s Fine Arts Innovators of the Year for 2001.

In addition to her studio work, Ms. Wagner has also created large-scale site-specific public art pieces for the City of San Francisco, the UCSF Medical School, and most recently for the City of Los Angeles. She is currently working on other projects for the City of Santa Monica, the City of San Jose, Millennium Partners, and BRIDGE Housing. Her public artworks combine the theoretical rigor of her photographic works with an awareness of the specifics and history of each site.

Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Folkswang, Essen, Germany, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Her monographs include Cross Sections (Twin Palms Press 2002), Art & Science: Investigating Matter (Washington University, 1996), Home and Other Stories (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1993), and American Classroom (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1988). Ms.Wagner is represented by Gallery Luisotti in Santa Monica, California and the Stephen Wirtz Gallery in San Francisco.[]

2005, Re-Classifying History: Catherine Wagner, de Young Museum (museum brochure)

2004, Trilogy: Reflections on Frankenstein, the Arctic Circle, and the History of Science, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco, CA (catalog)

2001, Catherine Wagner: Cross Sections. (Twin Palms Publishers)

1996, Art and Science: Investigating Matter, (Washington University)

1993, Home and Other Stories, Photographs by Catherine Wagner.(Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

1990, Changing Places: Photographs by Catherine Wagner. Houston: Farish Gallery, Rice University

1988, American Classroom, (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

1987, Catherine Wagner, 1976-1986 (monograph), Min Gallery, (Tokyo, Japan)
Gonzales Elementary School, Santa Fe, New Mexico by Catherine Wagner
  • Gonzales Elementary School, Santa Fe, New Mexico by Catherine Wagner
  • Gonzales Elementary School, Santa Fe, New Mexico by Catherine Wagner
  • Gonzales Elementary School, Santa Fe, New Mexico by Catherine Wagner
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