Visual Arts Faculty

James Welling

James Welling headshot

Photo courtesy James Welling


James Welling was born in 1951 in Hartford, Connecticut. He studied at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh before receiving his BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. The artist has been represented by David Zwirner since 2005, and this is his ninth solo presentation with the gallery.

Welling’s work has been the subject of a number of significant survey exhibitions. Most recently, in 2017, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.) in Ghent and the Kunstforum Wien in Vienna co-organized Metamorphosis, a traveling solo show encompassing the artist's work from over three decades. A major survey, Monograph, was organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio and accompanied by a catalogue published by Aperture in 2013. The exhibition traveled to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. In 2000, the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio organized a major survey of his work, which traveled to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Welling’s work was also featured in documenta IX in 1992.

In 2020, Choreograph, a solo exhibition of the artist’s work, was on view at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. Things Beyond Resemblance: James Welling Photographs, a solo exhibition hosted in 2015 by the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, presented fifty works from the artist's Wyeth project. The museum also commissioned the artist to create eight site-specific installations, Gradients, which explore the intersection of photography and sculpture. In 2012, The Mind on Fire at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, England, explored the origin and development of Welling's abstract photographs from the 1980s. The show traveled to the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea in Santiago de Compostela, Spain and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver.

Additional solo exhibitions have been held at the Art Institute of Chicago (2014); Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2013); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut (2012); Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota (2010); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (2002); Art Gallery of York University, Toronto (2002); Sprengel Museum Hannover (1999); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1998); and the Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (1998). In 1990, the artist's first museum exhibition was presented by Kunsthalle Bern.

In 2014, Welling was a recipient of the Infinity Award given by the International Center of Photography, New York, and in 2016 he received the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award from Woodbury University, California. From 1995 to 2016, he was Area Head of Photography at UCLA, and since 2012 he has been a Lecturer with the Rank of Professor at Princeton University.

The artist's work is held in major museum collections internationally, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; Vancouver Art Gallery; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He lives and works in New York.


James Welling lectures on “The Perception of Andrew Wyeth: Birds, Wind, Water” as part of Andrew Wyeth in Context: Contemporary Art and Scholarship at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Metamorphosis — James Welling, Quentin Bajac, Robert Slifkin: An Art Book Series Event | May 23, 2017, at 6:30 PM at the New York Public Library.

Seascape — David Zwirner Gallery, 519 West 19th Street, New York, July 10 – August 4, 2017

Archaeology — Virtual viewing room at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, May 2020

Street View — Watch a collection of images on David Zwirner Gallery Instagram, August 2020

Metamorphosis — April 1 – May 8, 2021, David Zwirner Gallery, 5-6/F, H Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong



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Program in Visual Arts
185 Nassau Street
Room 112

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