Lucas Samaras is a Greek-born American artist known for his mixed-media approach towards identity and image. Samara’s knowledge of sculpture, painting, and performance art informed his iconic series of Polaroids from the 1970s, Photo-Transformation (1973-1976). In the works, he would smear and scratch the wet emulsion of developing Polaroids, mostly self-portraits, to create psychedelic and surreal images. “The thrill was that the camera itself was fantastic,” the artist remarked on photography. “It was up to me to put the camera here, to put it there, put it wherever, and pose. It's almost as if you have yourself and say, ‘okay, do something. Interest me. Excite me,’ and I'm going to excite you with something ridiculous or semi-tragic or humorous.” Born on September 14, 1936 in Kastoria, Greece, Samaras studied art at Rutgers University where he met the artists Allan Kaprow, George Segal, and Roy Lichtenstein. Inspired by the Fluxus movement, Samaras created the groundbreaking work Mirrored Room (1966), which was one of the earliest installations that allowed viewers to become active participants. He went on to study art history at Columbia University under the famous art critic and theorist Meyer Schapiro. Samaras’s works are presently held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. The artist lives and works in New York, NY.
Lucas Samaras | Selected Press
Lucas Samaras | Interviews