Deborah Luster

Born 1951. Lives and works in New Orleans, Louisiana and Galway, Ireland

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2014— Tooth for an Eye, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR

2013— Tooth for an Eye, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans

2012— Send It On Down, Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans

2011— Tooth for an Eye, Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC

2009— Invisible Populations, LSU School of Art, Glassell Gallery, Shaw Center for the Arts, Baton Rouge, LA

2008— Tooth for an Eye, Prospect. 1 International Biennial, New Orleans

2007— One Big Self, Newcomb Art Gallery, Woldenberg Art Center, Tulane University, New Orleans

2006— On the Inside, The Halsey Gallery, College of Charleston, SC

2005— One Big Self, The Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, RI; One Big Self, Winthrop University Gallery, Rock Hill, SC

2004— One Big Self, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (curated by Sandra S. Phillips); One Big Self, Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC

2003— One Big Self, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR

2002— One Big Self, Galveston Art Center, Galveston, TX

1999— Come Shining, The Light Factory, Charlotte, NC

1994— The Lost Roads Project, The Old State House, Little Rock, AR


Selected Two-Person and Group Exhibitions


2018— Prison Nation, Aperture Foundation, New York; The Art of Collaboration (with C.D. Wright), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

2017— Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina and Speed Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

2016—  Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art, Frist Center For Visual Arts, Nashville ; The Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Fl. (curated by Mark Scala); The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South, The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC ; Borrowed Light: Selections from the Jack Shear Collection, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, Ny ; Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University; Speed Art Museum, Louisville (curated by Trevor Schoonmaker and Miranda Lash); Guns in the Hands of Artists, Public Functionary, Minneapolis

2015— The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art Acquired with the Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC (curated by Sarah Greenough and Andrea Nelson); Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; ARTi(FICTION): The Battle of New Orleans, Studio Inferno, New Orleans; Ghosts in the Machine, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville (curated by Mark Scala); Guns in the Hands of Artists, Aspen Institute, Aspen, Washington University, St. Louis, Miami Project, Miami; American Scene Photography: Martin Z. Margulies Collection, Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale; Southern Exposure: Portraits of a Changing Landscape, Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville

2014— Mise en Scene, Jack Shainman Gallery at The School, Kinderhook, NY; Public Practice (New Orleans Airlift) in conjunction with The Embasy, Prospect.3, New Orleans; Guns in the Hands of Artists, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans; Deborah Luster/Pinky Bass, Abercrombie Gallery, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA; Decisive Moments: Photographs from the Collection of Cherye R. and James F. Pierce, Honolulu Museum of Art

2013— A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC  

2012— Cruel and Unusual, Noorderlicht Gallery, Groningen, Netherlands; Cruel and Unusual, Photoville Festival, NYC; Something Here from Somewhere Else, Good Children Gallery, New Orleans; Groundstory, Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Atlanta

2011— Crime Unseen, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago; The World According to New Orleans, Ballroom, Marfa, TX

2010— Prospect 1.5, New Orleans; Crime Scene NOLA, Antenna Gallery, New Orleans; Residents and Visitors: Twentieth Century Photographs of Louisiana, New Orleans Museum of Art

2007— A Course in Minerals, collaboration with Kevin Sullivan, KK Projects, New Orleans, LA

2005— Hand and Eye: The Dorothea Lange—Paul Taylor Award Recipient’s Exhibition, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, Durham, NC; Casting a New Light, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA

2004— Inside Out: Portrait Photographs from the Permanent Collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; Common Ground, Selections from the Collection of Julia J. Norrell, Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, DC; Male Body Image, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT; A Charge to Keep, Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC; Southern Images, Contemporary Photographers, Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, DC

2002— No Exit: Images of Imprisonment, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA; Contemporary Alternative Photography, The White Room Gallery, West Hollywood, CA; 20th Anniversary Exhibition, Houston Center for Photography (FOTOFest), Houston, TX; The Camera Obscured IV: Mixed Media Photography, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL

2001— Many Moons, Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY; The Crafted Image, Boston University, Boston, MA; Visualizing the Blues, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN

1999— Myth, Memory and Imagination, The Julia J. Norrell Collection, The McKissick Museum, Columbia, SC; Carried to the Heart: Faith and Doubt in Contemporary Southern Art and Literature, Millsaps College, Jackson, MS; Humidity, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta; Home Altars, Sacred Space in the Domestic Realm, John Michael Kohler Center, Sheboygan, WI; Not for Profit, Soho Photo, NYC;

1998— Send It On Down, The Light Factory, Charlotte, NC

1997— Come Shining, Poets Theatre, NYC

1996— Discoveries at the Meeting Place, Fotofest, Houston; 
The American South: Contemporary Photography from 1966—1996, Catherine Edelman Gallery; New Southern Photography, The Society for Contemporary Photography, Kansas City, MO; Water, Photo Metro, San Francisco, CA; Tangle of Complexes: Photographing in Mexico, University of Colorado, Boulder

1995— Deborah Luster and William Griner, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR; Gallery Artists: Part I, Catherine Edelman, Chicago; 
Blue Sky’s 20th Anniversary Show, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR

1994— Bi Location, Oaxaca, Mexico; Send it on Down, The Light Factory, Charlotte, NC


Selected Awards

Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship (2017)

Robert Rauschenberg Residency (2016)

Robert Gardener Fellowship for Photography, Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, Harvard University (2015-16)

Michael P. Smith Memorial Award for Documentary Photography, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (2015)

S. J. Weiler Fund Award (2014)

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Artist's Residency, Dublin (2014)

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2013)

Monroe Fellowship Research Grant (2013) with Zachary Lazar, The Center for the Gulf South, Tulane University, New Orleans

Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant (2011) 

Sweet Arts Grant, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (2007)

N.Y.Times Top Ten Photography Books of 2003 (Andy Grundberg) for One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (Twin Palms Publishers)

Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2002

The John Gutmann Photography Fellowship, San Francisco Foundation (2002)

The Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, The Baum Foundation (2001)

Dorothea Lange—Paul Taylor Prize, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University (with C.D. Wright) (2000)

Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship (2000)

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Publication Grant (2000


 Permanent Collections


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
;  Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
; Los Angeles County Museum of Art
;  Smithsonian Art Museum, Washington, DC;  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; 
New Orleans Museum of Art
; Pier 24 (Pilara Foundation), San Francisco
; Akron Museum of Art
; William Benton Museum of Art, Storrs, CT
; Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin
; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA
; Berg Collection, New York Public Library; National Archives, Washington, DC; 
 North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; 
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
; Brown University, Providence, RI
; The Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA
; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; 
Masur Museum, Monroe, LA
; Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, NC; Mecklinburg Arts Council, Charlotte, NC; 
Nations Bank Collection, Charlotte, NC; 
 Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; The Margulies Collection, Miami; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago


Selected Publications

We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us, Brick 93 (Text by Zachary Lazar, Photographs by Deborah Luster), 2014

On This Stage, Jesus is a Robber; The Devil’s a Rapist, photographic portraits for National Public Radio (with John Burnett), 2012

Tooth for an Eye: a Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish, Twin Palms Publishing, 2011 (monograph)

THE Real Real THING: the Model in the Mirror of Art, Wendy Steiner, University of Chicago Press, 2010

The Hidden World of Girls: Girls and the Women They Become, produced by Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva for National Public Radio, 2010

Conjunctions 55: Urban Arias, Bard College, with poet C.D. Wright, 2010

Prison Culture, “Deborah Luster and the Photographic Performance: An Interview with Lizbet Simmons,” edited by Sharon Bliss, City Lights Foundation, San Francisco, 2009

Prospect. 1 New Orleans, edited by Dan Cameron, Picture Box Publishing, 2008

One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, Twin Palms Publishing, 2003 (monograph)

Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Guarde, The New Wave in Old Processes, Lyle Rexer, Abrams, 2002

Blue Sky #37, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR, 2002

Brick, a Literary Journal, Toronto, 2001

The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, Christopher James, 1st and 2nd Editions.

The Tenth Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor PrizeDeborah Luster and C.D. Wright in Collaboration, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, 2001

Conjunctions 32: Eye to Eye, Bard College, with poet C.D. Wright, 1999

The Lost Roads Project, with C.D. Wright, University of Arkansas Press, 1994

Just Whistle, A Valentine, collaboration with C.D. Wright, Kelsey St. Press, San Francisco, CA, 1992


Public Presentations

National Gallery of Art, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; The Graduate Center, The City University of New York; Friends of Photography, San Francisco; The Baum Foundation, San Francisco; The Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence; University of Texas, Austin; Woldenberg Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans; Bellocq Gallery, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston; Anderson Ranch, Snowmass, CO; Penland School, Penland, NC; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Corcoran School of Art and Design, Washington, DC; Glassell Gallery, Shaw Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; The Front Gallery, New Orleans; Cassilhaus Artist Residency, Durham, NC; Robert C. May Lecture Series, University of Kentucky, Lexington; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, Athens; Virginia Military Institute, Lexington; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Georgia State University, Atlanta; The Halsey Institute, College of Charleston, SC; University of the Arts, Philadelphia; Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, Nashville; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; Lesley University, Boston;Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ



Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC