Farrah Karapetian USA, b. 1978

Farrah Karapetian is an artist who works with photography in an expanded, physical field, incorporating sculpture, performance, design, and community participation. The work is a relational strategy of personal encounter and exchange that hinges on a sense of the contest between individual agency and authority. Her work is in the public collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. She is a recipient of a City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship (2021), a Fulbright Fellowship to Russia (2018), a Pollock-Krasner Award (2017, a California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Fellowship (2014), and a Warhol Arts Writers Grant (2013). Recent exhibitions include The Photograph is Always Now, Diane Rosenstein Gallery (2020);  The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (2018); Synthesize, MOCA Jacksonville (2017); Light Play: Experiments in Photography, 1970 to the Present, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2017); A Matter of Memory, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY (2016); The Surface of Things, Houston Center for Photography (2016); and About Time: Photography in a Moment of Change, SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA (2016). She holds an MFA from UCLA and a BA from Yale University. 


Karapetian was in residence Spring/Summer 2018 in St. Petersburg, Russia as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar investigating the contemporary resonance of Russian Revolutionary theatrical director Vselovod Meyerhold. She received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation for 2017. She visited Russia in 2016 with a grant from CEC ArtsLink. In 2014, she was recognized with a California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Fellowship. She received a grant for Artistic Innovation from the Center for Cultural Innovation in 2012 and was a resident at the MacDowell Colony in 2010.


Karapetian’s writing about photography and visual experience was recognized by the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program in 2013 with a grant for her writing about the house in and as contemporary art. Her voice has been a part of panel discussions and critiques at institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Princeton University, UCLA, LAXART, and the Orange County Museum of Art. She currently teaches at the University of San Diego and Claremont Graduate University.


Karapetian’s public art projects have been recognized by arts and civic organizations including the California Legislature Assembly and the City of Los Angeles. She has received support from the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War in Los Angeles for her work with their collection and civic engagement program, and she received an allotment of an Artplace grant as funding for her participation in the Flint Public Art Project in Michigan in 2012.


Significant group exhibitions in which existing work has figured include The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018); The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall, Goethe-Institut, Washington DC, curated by Paul Farber (2014); The Fifth Wall, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA, curated by Irene Tsatsos (2014); Prep School: Prepper & Survivalist Ideologies and Utopian/Dystopian Visions, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA, curated by Max Presneill (2014); Trouble With the Index, California Museum of Photography UCR ARTS, Riverside, CA, curated by Joanna Szupinska-Myers (2014); Border Art Biennial 2010, El Paso Museum of Art and Centro Cultural Paso del Norte, El Paso, TX, and Juárez, MX, an exhibition juried by Rita Gonzalez and Itala Schmelz; and LA Confidentiel, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Parc Saint-Léger, France, curated by Sandra Patron and Allyson Spellacy (2008). Karapetian realized a major new installation at the 2013 CaliforniaPacific Triennial, at the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA, an exhibition curated by Dan Cameron.


Karapetian’s work is included in Charlotte Cotton’s survey of contemporary trends in fine art photography, Photography is Magic, published by Aperture in 2015, and has been reviewed in the LA Times, Artforum, Artcritical.com, and Photograph Magazine among many other publications. Profiles of the artist’s work have been published in Art in America, Artforum.com, The Georgia Review, TATE Etc., FABRIK, Art LTD, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among others, and her work has been discussed in the New York Times and Interview Magazine.