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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Karl Baden

Dates:  1952, 24 June -
Born:  US, NY, New York
Active:  US / Canada / Mexico / Peru
On February 23rd 1987 he began a long term and continuing project of self discovery in which he takes a stylistically similar self-portrait every day - the appropriately titled Every Day series.

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Karl Baden
Grid showing the face of Karl Baden taken on 23rd February 1987 - 2007 
[Every Day] 
2007, 23 February
Family history 
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Artist statement: Every Day (1987-ongoing)
Since February 23rd, 1987, I have, each day, made a photograph of my face. Reserved exclusively for this project are a single camera, tripod, cable release, strobe and white backdrop. A small, additional tripod and backdrop allow me to take the setup with me when I travel.
The procedure itself is simple and straightforward, usually taking between five and ten minutes to accomplish (a bit longer when I’m on the road): The camera is always set at the same distance. I try to center myself in the frame, maintain a neutral expression and look straight into the lens.
It is vital that each day’s image be no more and no less than a visual record, a facsimile of it’s subject. I consciously avoid Beauty. Dynamic composition, odd framing, unusual lighting, etc, only serve to obscure. In essence, my attempt has been to standardize the technical and logistic aspects of this procedure to the extent that only one variable remains: Whatever change may occur in my face, measured obsessively and incrementally, day after day, for the rest of my life.
The nature of ‘Every Day’ presumes it be a work in progress. It’s presentation may vary widely, depending on space and circumstance. As much as sameness is important in the making of each image, difference becomes an issue when the these images are exhibited as a body of work. So far, my intent has been to change the way the work is shown, to reconfigure the interface, as it were, for each new venue.
Presented here are installation views, entire or in part, of the ‘Every Day’ series presented in a variety of exhibition spaces over the years.
Artist statement: A Hair above Normal (2007)
These inkjet prints are from the series ‘A Hair above Normal’, a document of my year of treatment for prostate cancer. Each image contains the raw material of photographs, scans of ephemera from my treatments, and transcribed text from journal entries or recorded conversations with medical practitioners and family members.
Artist statement: The Kid (1994-1996)
Liz and I became first-time parents as we entered middle age. Our daughter was born three weeks after Liz’s 39th birthday and four days short of my 42nd. Our decision to have a child was the result of four years filled with discussion, negotiation, second guessing, threat and counterthreat, outright battling and, finally, agreement. We would both take this journey, Liz reassured me; the distant glow of our destination was sunshine and not the headlight of an oncoming train.
These are page reproductions, excerpted from ‘The Kid’ an unpublished, unabashedly biased and self-involved chronicle describing how we allowed our lives to change in a way that is at once commonplace and extraordinary.
All text in ‘The Kid’ is from my journal entries. The tale is told in my voice and seen through my eyes. I make no claim to objectivity. Hope and fear go hand and hand.
Artist statement: In Our House (1994)
These pictures are part of a visual chronicle of the beginning our life as a family. They were all made inside our house. We don’t get out as much as we used to.
Artist statement: Cliché-Verre Self-Portraits (1982)
The Cliché-Verre series (1982-83) was an attempt to combine handwork and drawing with photographic imagery and still produce roughly identical multiples of an image.
The prints, split-toned in selenium, were made from negatives which had been variously scratched, inked, burned, cut up and glued onto other negatives.
Artist statement: Some Significant Self-Portraits (1981)
Some Significant Self-Portraits was a small, cheap artists book self-published in 1981 (Badger Press). Offset-printed in an edition of approximately 220, it was a gathering of 14 or 15 of my personal favorite images from the history of photography, into each of which I collaged a picture of myself. The cover uses the photo of George Eastman from the 1964 edition of Beaumont Newhall’s ‘History of Photography’; the text that photographers of my generation grew up on.
Artist statement: Contact Sheet Self-Portrait Text (1980)
About 50 contact sheet self-portraits were made over a three-month period in 1980. For each, a roll of 35 exposures was taken of various parts of my body, usually in close-up. The roll was processed normally and printed, without alteration or manipulation, as a contact sheet.
This work was originally supposed to be enlarged, but, due to one thing or another, it took more than a decade before even a few of them were printed approximately 64x42 inches.
Artist statement: Self-Image series (1978-1979)
The ‘Self-Image’ series was done in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, from the Fall of 1978 to the Fall of 1979. The nominal subject of the photographs is me, or parts of me. My aim, aside from making a visually arresting image, was to psychologically imply a sense of transformation; from inorganic to organic, animal to human, male to female. I wanted to stretch the traditional notion of a figure in a landscape.
From a technical standpoint, the photographs were made using a 35mm SLR camera with a detachable prism, allowing me to stand in front of the lens and see fairly accurately what the camera saw. I also employed simple lens elements, held between myself and the camera, to throw areas of the image in or out of focus, and create ‘incongruities’ in the depth-of-field. Usually, the negative was only exposed once, but, occasionally, two or three exposures were made in the camera, There was no print manipulation other than standard burning and dodging.
At the time, I would have denied that the work had any personal psychological dimension, and insisted that I used myself as the subject because I was unable to afford a model. In retrospect, I realize that stance was ridiculous. I now have no doubt that the relationship between humor and horror informed my own psyche in this and a number of previous and subsequent bodies of work.
1979 MFA (Photography), University of Illinois at Chicago Circle
1974 BA Magna Cum Laude (Fine Arts), Syracuse University
Solo exhibitions
2007 “Every Day: 2/23/87 – 2/23/07, Twenty Years / Ten Bucks”, Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
2006 ‘La Culture des Idees: Book cover design and the spirit of Magritte’, Bapst Art Library, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
2005 ‘A Long Year’, Light Work Visual Studies, Syracuse, NY
2005 ‘Covering Photography’, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
2002 “Sex, Death and the History of Photography”, Musée Arthur Batut, Labrugière, France
2000 “How did I… get here?” Light Work Visual Studies, Syracuse, NY
2000 Howard Yezerski Gallery; Boston, MA
1997 Howard Yezerski Gallery; Boston, MA
1997 ‘Beauty and the Beast”, Ellen Canon Gallery, Seattle, WA
1996 Texas Tech University; Lubbock, TX
1995 “Sex, Death and the History of Photography”, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
1995 Connecticut Photographics, Danbury, CT
1995 Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
1994 “Beauty and the Beast”, Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
1994 Resolution Gallery (LACPS), Los Angeles, CA
1994 “Beauty and the Beast”, Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
1994 Clark University, Worcester, MA
1994 E.J. Bellocq Gallery, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA
1993 “Beauty and the Beast”, Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX
1993 Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO
1993 University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
1993 University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
1993 University of California, Berkeley extension, Berkeley, CA
1993 Gallery 2D; Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, IL
1992 Urban Institute of Contemporary Art; Grand Rapids, MI
1992 Gallery 721, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
1991 Southern Light Gallery; Amarillo, TX
1991 Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
1991 Pennsylvania School of Art & Design, Lancaster, PA
1991 Photo-Four Gallery; South Suburban College, South Holland, IL
1991 Florida International University, Miami, FL
1990 “Sex, Death and the History of Photography”, Mednick Gallery; Univ. of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
1990 Bruce Gallery, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA
1990 University of Nevada, Reno, NV
1990 Infinity Gallery, Governors State University, University Park, IL
1989 “A Revisionist History of Photography”, Marcuse Pfeifer Gallery; New York, NY
1989 “Sex, Death and the History of Photography”, Howard Yezerski Gallery; Boston, MA
1989 “Sex, Death and the History of Photography”, Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA
1989 Blue Sky Gallery; Portland, OR
1989 Workspace Gallery, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
1988 Zoe Gallery, Boston, MA
1988 Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
1987 Rose Gallery, St. Edwards University, Austin, TX
1987 Relay Zone, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
1986 MTSU Photography Gallery, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
1986 Photography Gallery, Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
1985 Perihelion Gallery; Milwaukee, WI
1985 Hampshire College; Amherst, MA
1985 Midtown Y Photography Gallery; New York, NY
1985 Andover Gallery, Andover, MA
1984 Institute of Contemporary Art; Boston, MA
1984 Andover Gallery, Andover, MA
1983 Invision Gallery; Penn. State University, University Park, PA
1982 Foto Gallery, New York, NY
1981 Bellocq Gallery; Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA
1981 Visual Language Workshop; MIT, Cambridge, MA
1979 Illinois Arts Council Gallery, Chicago, IL
1976 Foto Gallery, New York, NY
Group exhibitions
2006 “The Roots of Collaboration”; Warehouse Gallery, Syracuse, NY
2006 “Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition”; Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX
2005 ‘Head Count’, Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
2005 ‘Daumenkino’, Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, Germany
2005 Work featured in ‘Les Internationale Rencontres de la Photographie’, Arles, France (presentation by Joan Fontcuberta)
2004 ‘Self-Evidence: Role-Playing in Contemporary Art’, Decordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
2004 ‘Revisit the Mirror’, Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, CA
2004 ‘Some of Their Parts’, Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
2004 Danforth Museum of Art, Framaingham, MA
2002 ‘Who? Me?: Role Play in Self-Portrait Photography', Zabriskie Gallery, New York, NY
2002 ‘Idea Photographic: After Modernism’. Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
2002 “Re-viewing Photography: The Photo Review at 25” , traveling exhibition
2002 “Show: The Flag” (with ‘Flagging Spirits’); Armory Center for the Arts, Pasedena, CA
2002 “Digital City”; New England School of Art and Design, Boston, MA
2001 “Terrors & Wonders: Monsters in Contemporary Art”; Decordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
2001 “Lighten Up: Art with a sense of humor”, Decordova Museum (exhibition catalog)
2000 “Photography in Boston, 1955 - 1985; Decordova & Dana Museum, Lincoln, MA
2000 ‘Family Tree’; Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
2000 “Representing the Intangible”; Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA
2000 “Demonstrosity: Deconstructing Monsters in Contemporary Art”, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA
2000 “Get the Picture Photographs from the Collection of Kelly Wise”; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
2000 “Fiction / Nonfiction”; Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
1998 ‘Play it Again: Variations on Man Ray’s ‘Violon d’Ingres’; Amsterdam, Netherlands
1998 “Face Value”; Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA
1997 ‘Small Wonders’; CEPA (Anderson Art Center), Buffalo, NY
1997 “When Two or More: Typologies”, Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO
1997 “Backyards”; Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
1996 “When Two or More: Typologies”, Houston Center for Photoraphy, Houston, TX
1996 “20th Anniversary exhibition”; Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA
1996 “Blue Sky Gallery 20th Anniversary exhibition”; Augen Gallery, Portland, OR
1995 ‘10x10x10’; Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY
1995 ‘Image Interrupted’; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
1995 “Imagining Angels”; Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA
1994 ‘Tradition and the Unpredictable’; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
1994 “Homage to Hans Bellmer”; Book Beat Gallery, Oak Park, MI
1992 'Photographs from the Permanent Collection'; Museum of Modern Art, NYC
1992 “Critics Choice”; Duxbury Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA
1992 “Photography Fellowship Exhibition”; Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
1991 “Expressive Alternatives: Photography”; Bartlett Gallery, South Lancaster, MA
1990 ‘6th Boston Triennial’; Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA
1990 “Seeing is Believing”; Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA
1989 ‘Reproduction’; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
1989 ‘The Creative Camera’; Dayton Art Insitute, Dayton, OH
1989 ‘Surface Appearances’; Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI
1989 ‘Hysterics of Photography’; SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA
1988 ‘New Surrealism’; Center for Photography, Woodstock, NY
1988 “Montage, Hillwood Art Gallery, Long Island University, Brookville, NY
1988 “American Photographer”; Allegheny Colllege, Meadville, PA
1987 ‘The Visual Paradox’; Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI
1987 “New Work from Old Friends”; Decordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
1987 “Cultural Cues”; Andover Gallery, Andover, MA
1986 “The Animal in Photography: 1843 – 1985”, The Photographers Gallery, London, England
1986 ‘The Poetics of Space’; Santa Fe Art Museum', Santa Fe, NM
1986 'Commitment to Vision’; Art Museum, U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR
1986 ‘Acceptable Entertainment’; Bruno Facchetti Gallery, NYC
1986 “The Constructed Photograph”, Hera Gallery, Kingston, RI
1986 “On the Edge”, Andover Gallery, Andover, MA
1985 ‘Boston Now: Photography’; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
1985 Northlight Gallery; Arizona State Univ., Tempe AZ
1985 ‘Light and Heavy Light’ ; Bruce Velick Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1984 Photokina, Cologne, Germany
1984 Rose Art Museum; Waltham, MA
1983 Carl Siembab Gallery; Boston, MA
1983 Light Factory; Charlotte, NC
1983 ‘Camera Movements’, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA
1982 “Contemporary Photography As Phantasy”; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
1982 “Dadakin”; Hayden Gallery, MIT, Cambridge, MA
1982 “New Works; Ten Massachusetts Photographers”, Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, MA
1980 “Into the Eighties: New England Photography”; Thorne Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene State College, Keene, NH
1979 “4X4” ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL
1978 “4x4” NAME Gallery, Chicago, IL
Massachusetts Cultural Council, Photography Fellowship 1998
NEA Regional Photographers Fellowship 1991
Finalist, Mass. Artists Foundation 1980, 81, 83, 87, 88, 89
Kenan Foundation Grant 1988, 89
Residency Grant, Light Work Visual Studies 1985
New Works Grant (Mass. Council for Arts & Humanities) 1981
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover MA
Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston TX
Graham Gund Collection
Decordova Museum, Lincoln MA
List Visual Arts Center MIT, Cambridge MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara CA
Polaroid Corp, International Collection
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham MA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Library (artist's books) NYC
Musée Arthur Batut, Labrugière, France
Boston Public Library, Boston MA
Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth MN
Robert Mann Gallery, New York NY
Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston MA  
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