James Casebere was born in 1953, in East Lansing, Michigan. He attended Michigan State University, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design from which he graduated in 1976 with a B.F.A. In the fall of 1977, he attended the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York, and received an M.F.A from Cal Arts in 1979. Casebere’s pioneering work has established him at the forefront of artists working with constructed photography. For the last thirty years, Casebere has devised increasingly complex models that are subsequently photographed in his studio. Based on architectural, art historical and cinematic sources, his table-sized constructions are made of simple materials, pared down to essential forms. Casebere’s abandoned spaces are hauntingly evocative and oftentimes suggestive of prior events, encouraging the viewer to reconstitute a narrative or symbolic reading of his work.
While earlier bodies of work focused on American mythologies such as the genre of the western and suburban home, in the early 1990s, Casebere turned his attention to institutional buildings. In more recent years, his subject matter focused on various institutional spaces and the relationship between social control, social structure and the mythologies that surround particular institutions, as well as the broader implications of dominant systems such as commerce, labor, religion and law.
Casebere is the recipient of numerous fellowships including three from the National Endowment for the Arts, three from the New York Foundation for the Arts and one from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. His work has been collected by museums worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, among many others. James Casebere lives and works in New York.