Greece born 1936
to United States of America 1948
Lucas Samaras was born in Kastoria, Macedonia, Greece, on 14 September 1936, and emigrated with his family to the United States of America in 1948. From 1955 to 1959 he studied at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where he met Allan Kaprow and George Segal. He exhibited work in solo shows at Rutgers University in 1955 and 1958, but his first exhibition of consequence was at the Reuben Gallery, New York, in 1959. Samaras became involved in the activities of the artists associated with the Reuben Gallery – notably Claes Oldenberg, Jim Dine and Red Grooms – and performed in some of their Happenings. In 1960 he stopped painting in oils and worked on pastels, assemblages and boxes. One of his boxes was shown in the exhibition Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1961.
In 1966 Samaras exhibited his Mirrored room[i] at the Pace Gallery, New York. A second mirrored room was made for exhibition at Documenta 4, Kassel, in 1968. In 1970 his series Transformation: Chair was exhibited at the Pace Gallery, as were his series of Autopolaroids in 1971. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, held a retrospective of his work in 1972. He continued to exploit a variety of materials, exhibiting the Photo-transformations in 1973, fabric Reconstructions in 1978 and bronzes in 1982. A retrospective exhibition of his work was mounted by the Denver Art Museum in 1988 and toured major American centres. In the 1990s Samaras continued to work in self-portraiture, across a range of mediums, and in 1998 his heavy gold jewellery was exhibited at PaceWildenstein, New York. An exhibition examining his use of self-portraits will be at the Whitney Museum of American Art from 13 November 2003 to 8 February 2004. Samaras lives and works in New York.
[i] Albright-Knox Gallery, New York
See more works by this artist in the NGA collection
Lucas Samaras Photo-transformation 2/1/74 1974 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Purchased 1975 Learn more
Lucas Samaras Photo-transformation 11/11/73 1973 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Purchased 1975 Learn more
Lucas Samaras Photo-transformation 9/19/73 1973 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Purchased 1975 Learn more
Lucas Samaras Photo-transformation 10/22/73 1973 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Purchased 1975 Learn more
Lucas Samaras Photo-transformation 2/14/74 1974 © Lucas Samaras, Courtesy Pace Wildenstein Purchased 1975 Learn more