Rachel Sussman

Rachel Sussman

Fellow: Awarded 2014
Field of Study: Photography

Competition: US & Canada

Rachel Sussman is a contemporary artist based in Brooklyn, New York. For nearly a decade she has researched, worked with biologists, and traveled all over the world to photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older. This work spans disciplines, continents, and millennia: it’s part art and part science, has an innate environmentalism, and is underscored by an existential incursion into deep time. Her first book, The Oldest Living Things in the World, reached shelves April 2014, with forewords by Carl Zimmer and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Sussman’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in the U.S. and Europe, and acquired for museum, university, corporate, and private collections. Notable solo exhibitions include Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Montalvo Arts Center, Berlin Botanical Museum, and Michael Steinberg Gallery. Group exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Kunstverein Hannover, Paris Photo, D21 Kunstraum, Pierogi Leipzig, and Art Forum Berlin. A major solo exhibition of her work opens at Pioneer Works in September 2014.

Sussman’s photographs and writing have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, and NPR’s Picture Show. She has spoken on the TED main stage and at the Long Now Foundation, is a MacDowell Colony and NYFA Fellow, and is a trained member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. She began a practice-based fine art Ph.D. at Central Saint Martins in London (now on indefinite hold) and attended the Bard M.F.A. program, both in 2008. She received her B.F.A. in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in 1998.

In addition to her artwork, Sussman worked as an Interactive Producer for over ten years on interdisciplinary projects ranging from NBC.com’s Homicide and Saturday Night Live websites to educational software projects employing speech-recognition technologies.  She also performed trapeze as part of the duo The Amazing Siblings throughout New York, though her acrobatic career was cut short by a rotator-cuff injury.

Profile photograph by Victor G. Jeffreys II

Book site

TED talk

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