Doug Aitken

Mirror #10 | London, South Kensington | colour coupler print mounted on Plexiglas | 50.8 x 63 cm. (image)

“Aitken’s most ambitious installations […] harbour not one flow of events but a labyrinth of diverging paths, each with its own pace and temporality.”

Daniel Birnbaum, writer, critic

Since the early 1990s, multimedia artist Doug Aitken has created works that compress the frenetic movements, changing cityscapes, and mutable personal narratives that characterize urban, globalized life. He has collaborated through the years with many of the most recognizable cult figures in popular culture, and his works — often site-specific — have appeared in major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Pompidou, in Paris, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, among other institutions.

Aitken was born in Redondo Beach, Calif., and attended Marymount College, in Palos Verdes, Calif., and the Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1991. By 1994, he had his first solo exhibition at 303 Gallery, in New York, the first of several at the gallery, which still represents him today. In 1997, still in his twenties, his work was featured in the Whitney Biennial (it was included again in 2000). Two years later he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale for his installation, Electric Earth.

Recent years have seen several spectacular, large-scale installations and performances by the artist, like Sleepwalkers (2007), a multi-narrative installation of eight moving images projected onto the facade of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, featuring Donald Sutherland, Tilda Swinton and Chan Marshall (better known by her musical moniker, Cat Power). In 2011, he created Black Mirror, a multi-channel video installation mixed with dance, music and live theatre, featuring actress Chloë Sevigny, performed on a floating barge in Greece near the Island of Hydra. For Mirror (2013), he wrapped the exterior of the Seattle Art Museum in a giant LED screen with a video feed depicting images of the city and Washington State that changed based on surrounding conditions like temperature, pedestrian movement, and traffic.

Aitken was awarded the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize in 2012, and the Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts in 2013. He lives and works in Los Angeles and New York.

Additional sources:

D. Birnbaum, A. Sharp, J. Heiser, Doug Aitken, London, 2001, p. 51

Doug Aitken's website:

303 Gallery:

Museum of Modern Art (New York):

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