Sara Cwynar’s films and photography have been described as building on the legacy of the 1980s Pictures Generation. The artist is interested in how design and popular images work on our psyches, in how visual strategies infiltrate our consciousness. She considers how familiar, often sentimental images smooth over unpleasant realities, to cover up “the systems of control embedded within our social, economic, and political lives.”
Sara Cwynar (Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1985) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT; a Bachelor of Design from York University, Toronto, ON, Canada; and studied English Literature at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Selected exhibitions include: “Source,” Remai Modern, Saskatoon, SK, Canada (solo) (2021); "Collection 1970s–Present: Search Engines,” MoMA, New York, NY (2020/21); “Sara Cwynar,” The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (solo)(2019); “Image Model Muse,” Milwaukee Museum of Art, WI, and Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN (solo)(2018-2019); "Tracy,” Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON, Canada (solo); 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (both 2018); “Soft Film,” MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (solo); “Subjektiv,” Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (both 2017); and “Greater New York,” MoMA PS1, Queens, NY (2015-2016).
In 2021, Sara Cwynar presented a new commissioned work at Performa, New York. In 2019 MoMA New York commissioned Cwynar to make a series of films that stream on the museum’s website and social media platforms.
Cwynar’s works are in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoMA, New York; MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; SFMOMA, San Francisco; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco; Zabludowicz Collection, London; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and FOAM Photography Museum, Amsterdam.
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Cwynar, Sara. "Interviews: Sara Cwynar on finding desire in the world of images - As told to Chandra Glick." Artforum. 21 Sept. 2021. Web.
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Dolfi Agostini, Sara. Good Life, Sara Cwynar. Valletta: Blitz, 2019.
Smith-Stewart, Amy. “Interview with Sara Cwynar.” Sara Cwynar: Gilded Age. Ridgefield: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 2019.
Olson, Carly. “How One Artist Uses Wallpaper to Talk About Beauty.” Architectural Digest, Architectural Digest, 15 Aug. 2019. Web.
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Karp-Evans, Elizabeth. “Sara Cwynar Investigates our Inability to be Original.” Cultured Magazine. 2019. Web.
Greenberger, Alex. "A Market of the Senses: Sara Cwynar Finds Truths and Untruths in Advertising.” ARTNews. 21 Nov. 2018. Web.
Cwynar, Sara. Interview by Gabriel Ritter "Sara Cwynar’s Contemporary Nostalgia: On the occasion of her solo exhibition in Minneapolis, the Canadian artist speaks about color and consumerism in the information age." Aperture. 3 Oct. 2018. Web.
Greenberger, Alex. "Beg, Borrow, Steal: With Several Exhibitions Involving Appropriation, New York Has a Second ‘Pictures’ Moment." ARTNews. 21 Aug. 2017. Web.
Vogel, Wendy. "Sara Cwynar, Rose Gold: On the politics of colour in beauty products." ArtReview. June 2017. Web.
Wiley, Chris, et al. “A roundtable discussion hosted by Chris Wiley, with Lucas Blalock, Sara Cwynar and Erin Shirreff.” You Are Looking at Something That Never Occurred. Ed. Paul Luckraft. London: Zabludowicz Art Projects, 2017: 16-25.
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Liberty, Megan N. "The Color Palette of Materialism, from Rose Gold iPhones to Millennial Pink Shopping Bags: In her latest exhibition, Sara Cwynar probes our complicated relationship with image-saturated advertising.” Hyperallergic. 1 May 2017. Web.
"Sara Cwynar." The New Yorker. 1 May 2017: 6
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Cwynar, Sara. Interview Magazine. 2 Dec. 2015. Web.
McNelis, Ashley & Legacy Russell. "Sara Cwynar: The origins of nostalgia and some theoretical foundations of photography." BOMB Magazine. 17 Feb. 2015. Web.
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Abeles, Michele, et al. “Recording Images: A Round-Table Interview Curated by Lauren Cornell with Michele Abeles, Sara Cwynar, Jon Rafman & Travess Smalley.” Mousse. 43. Apr. 2014: 238-252.
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Schreck, Christopher and Sara Cwynar. “Expanding on Kitsch.” Aperture. 3 Apr. 2014. Web.
Wood, Betty. “At Work: Sara Cwynar.” Port Magazine. May 2013. Web.