Vera Lutter, Nabisco Factory, Beacon, VI: October 21–December 22, 1999, 1999, unique gelatin silver print, 96 1/2 × 168 inches (245.1 × 426.7 cm) ©  Vera Lutter.

Vera Lutter will take up an artist residency at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, from February 2017 through March 2018.


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced an artist project and residency with Vera Lutter that will take place February 2017–March 2018, culminating in an exhibition in fall 2018.

Lutter makes large-scale photographs using one of the oldest optical technologies still in use, that of the camera obscura. Long before the invention of photography, it was known that if light traveled through a tiny hole into a darkened room, an image of the external world (off which the light rays had reflected) would re-form upside down on a wall opposite the tiny opening. Lutter herself began to use a camera obscura in the mid-1990s after moving to New York City. Living at the time in an apartment in midtown Manhattan, she transformed one room into a room-sized camera obscura to document the city outside her window. Since then, Lutter has adopted the camera obscura as her singular working method. She builds enormous cameras out of plywood, or adapts rooms or portable structures (such as shipping containers) in order to photograph a range of sites and subjects.

For her residency at LACMA, Lutter will undertake an ambitious project with three components. First, using a custom-built mobile camera, she will document exterior views of the buildings on LACMA’s campus that are slated for demolition to make room for a new building for the museum’s permanent collection. Second, working with LACMA curators, Lutter will photograph the interiors of selected galleries to create images that follow in the grand tradition of 19th-century “gallery paintings” of museum interiors. Third, using her camera obscura method, she will photograph paintings in LACMA’s permanent collection. Although Lutter has previously photographed classical and modern sculptures, this will be her first time using her camera obscura to photograph two-dimensional works of art.

About Vera Lutter
Born in Germany, Lutter was educated at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, Germany, and received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2015–16 her work was the subject of a mid-career retrospective, "Inverted Worlds," organized by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (traveled to New Orleans Museum of Art). Other solo exhibitions of her work have been mounted by Carré d’Art - Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes, France; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Kunsthaus Graz, Austria; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; and Dia: Beacon in Beacon, New York. Her work is included in the collections of numerous museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Dia Art Foundation, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.