Doug and Mike Starn

American, b. 1961

Blue Lisa, 1987, toned silver print, lead, tape and wood, 97 1/2 x 68 1/4 inches


Doug and Mike Starn specialize in photography and photo-based mixed-media works, which include materials such as Plexiglas, wood, nails, and transparency film. The Starn brothers typically reinterpret traditional or famous images from art history, and incorporate them into their unique style of art. Their work is often collaged with scotch tape and push pins holding everything together, a decidedly low-tech approach to creating various works of high-art.

Mike and Doug Starn, are identical twins and have been working collaboratively in photography since they were thirteen.  In 1985, at the age of twenty four, they first received critical attention for their torn, torqued, and intentionally distressed photographs.  Their conceptual approach to photography made visible the normally invisible machinations of the photographer, challenging not only the nature of photography but also the nature of art.  Taping together multitudes of faded, murky, torn wrinkled, and otherwise distressed photographic prints, they gave photography an astounding painterly and even sculptural physicality, opening the medium to a whole new world of expressive possibility.  To this day they continue to defy categorization by effectively combining traditionally separate disciplines such as sculpture, painting, video, and installation. Fueled by their thoughtful investigations of art, philosophy, cognitive science and history, the Starns have produced a unique melding of metaphor and material.

They have received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, Flashart, and their artworks are represented in numerous public collections including La Bibliotèque Nationale, MoMA, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum, La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, LACMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, SFMOMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yokohama Museum of Art, and many others.