MacArthur Fellows Program

Lee Friedlander

Photographer | Class of 1990

New York, New York
56 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published August 1, 1990

About Lee's Work

Lee Friedlander is a photographer who has explored diverse subject matter, often in series form, including urban landscapes, monuments, nudes, portraits of jazz musicians, high-technology workers, natural landscape, and self-portraits.

Friedlander’s early documentary work consists of multifaceted, layered, street images, earning him a reputation as an artist who focuses on the subjects of everyday life in order to reveal their underlying complexities.  He densely packs the frame with visual information, juxtaposing diverse elements within the picture’s frame, and offering an alternative way of seeing the modern world.


His works include The American Monument (1976), Like a One-Eyed Cat (1989), Lee Friedlander: Nudes (1991), The Desert Seen (1996), Sticks and Stones (2004), and Family (2004).  His photographs have appeared in numerous periodicals and have been exhibited internationally and at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan, the National Gallery of Art, and the George Eastman House.  A major retrospective of his work was held at the Hudson River Museum in 1978.  He was an artist-in-residence at the University of Minnesota (1966), a guest lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles (1970), and the Mellon Professor of Fine Arts at Rice University (1977).

Friedlander studied at the Art Center School in Los Angeles (1953-1955), prior to launching his freelance career.

Recent News

In 2005, Lee Friedlander’s work was the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. He has published several books of photographs, including, Family in the Picture, 1958–2013 (2014), Mannequin (2012), Recent Western Landscape, 2008–09 (2011), America by Car (2010), and New Mexico (2008).

Updated July 2015

Select News Coverage of Lee Friedlander
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