Stephen Berens, co-founder of X-TRA magazine, creates photographs, drawings, paintings, video, sculpture, and site-specific installations that revolve around generative systems. Each work is enveloped in a structure within which the artist seeks unpredictable results. Berens is slightly obsessive—he often works in series, looking for a particular language that he observes and seeing where it takes him. In various projects he has photographed everyone who knocked on his door over the course of a year, captured a pet owner’s anxiety with images of a single “lost dog” flier posted in over seventy locations around Los Angeles, and compared Sigmund Freud’s linguistic habits in The Ego and The Id to his own MFA thesis. Revisiting older work as raw materials emphasizes Berens’ interest in exploring how regularity might produce unexpected results or surprising visual connections.
Berens has exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana, Sheldon Memorial Art Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, among others. He was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. His work is in the collection of a number of public institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Getty Research Institute, the International Museum of Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and others. Grants include a 2014 Center for Cultural Innovation grant, 2013-14 COLA Individual Artist Fellowship, 2012-13 California Community Foundation Getty Fellowship, among others.
Please see CV for complete exhibition history.