Guna S. Mundheim Visual Arts Fellow - Class of Spring 2008
Best known for her portraits of adolescent men and women, Collier Schorr’s images often blend photographic realism with elements of fiction and youthful fantasy. However, her most recent project, There I Was (SteidlMack, 2007), represents a shift in both medium and concept for Ms. Schorr. It mixes both photographs and drawings to tell the story of a young racecar driver from Astoria, Queens, who was killed in the Vietnam War after only four weeks of service. As the driver, Charlie “Astoria Chas” Snyder was photographed by Schorr’s father, the book ultimately addresses the difficulty of representing the past without the “theatricality of restaging it.” Schorr’s other recent projects include Jens F. (SteidlMack, 2005), in which she created a comprehensive yet unusual portrait of a young man by photographing a German schoolboy posed as Helga, the housewife whom American painter Andrew Wyeth studied in secret for nearly twenty years.
In addition to her many published projects, Schorr’s works are in the permanent collections of several major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, among others. She has exhibited internationally at such prestigious venues as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Jewish Museum in New York, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Schorr’s work was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial and the 2003 International Center for Photography Triennial. She is currently a senior critic for the graduate photography program at the Yale University School of Art.
For the last nineteen years, photographer Collier Schorr has been going to the city of Schwäbisch Gmünd every summer to live with her in-laws’ family. Nephews, uncles, cousins, and grandmother – they all live in this not-entirely-tiny city of 62,000 in the state of Baden-Württemburg, about 50 kilometers east of Stuttgart. For Schorr, though, it’s not the size of the place that matters; it’s the attachment to the people (and locations) with whom she’s spent nearly half her life. »