Doug Aitken is an American artist and filmmaker. Defying definitions of genre, he explores every medium, from film and installations to architectural interventions.
His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vienna Secession, the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He participated in the both the 1997 and 2000 Whitney Biennials, and earned the International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999 for the installation “electric earth”. Aitken received the 2012 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, and the 2013 Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts. In 2016 he received the Americans for the Arts National Arts Award: Outstanding Contributions to the Arts. In 2017 Aitken became the inaugural recipient of the Frontier Art Prize, a new contemporary art award that supports an artist to pursue bold projects that challenge the boundaries of knowledge and experience to reimagine the future of humanity.
Aitken’s “Sleepwalkers” exhibition at MoMA in 2007 transformed an entire block of Manhattan as he covered the museum’s exterior walls with projections. In 2009, his Sonic Pavilion opened to the public in the hills of Brazil at the new cultural foundation INHOTIM. Aitken presented his large-scale film and architecture installation, “Frontier”, on Rome’s Isola Tiberina in 2009 and in Basel in 2010. “Black Mirror” featured a video installation and a live theatre performance on a uniquely designed barge floating off Athens and Hydra Island, Greece in 2011.
Commissioned and produced by the LUMA Foundation in 2012, “Altered Earth” explored the ever-changing landscape of Arles, France through moving image, sound and architecture. Also in 2012, “SONG 1” wrapped the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC in 360-degree panoramic video projections, transforming the concrete exterior into an audiovisual spectacle. In 2013, Aitken created “MIRROR” at the Seattle Art Museum, which utilized hundreds of hours of footage changing in real time in response to the life around it, transforming the museum exterior into a living kaleidoscope.
Aitken curated Station to Station, which took place over three weeks in September 2013. A train, designed as a moving light sculpture, broadcast content to a global audience as it traveled from New York City to San Francisco making nine stops along the way for a series of happenings. A feature film and a book about the project were released in 2015.
Station to Station next took over the Barbican Centre in London for 30 days in the summer of 2015, a month-long happening featuring over 100 artists, musicians, dancers, designers and other creative figures.
In September 2016, a major survey of Aitken’s work opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles. The survey exhibition subsequently traveled to The Modern, Fort Worth in May 2017. December of 2016 marked the installation one of his most ambitious projects to date, a trio of Underwater Pavilions tethered to the seabed off the coast of Catalina Island, California. This project was followed in 2017 by Mirage, a site-specific sculpture that takes the form of a home completely covered in mirrors and set in the heart of the Californian desert.