Justine Kurland

Justine Kurland

Born 1969

Artist Details

Birth Place
Warsaw, New York
Places of Residence
New York City
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1998; School of Visual Arts, New York City, 1996
NMWA Exhibitions

Live Dangerously, 2019
Trove: The Collection in Depth, 2011
Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemporary American Photography, 2008
Modern Love: Gifts to the Collection from Heather and Tony Podesta, 2008

About the Artist

Justine Kurland is best known for photographs of adolescent girls, nude pregnant women and mothers, and commune inhabitants arrayed in spectacular, lush landscapes. Her photographs straddle documentary realism and fantasy.

Kurland was born in Warsaw, New York. Her mother sold costumes at Renaissance fairs, so Kurland and her sister lived a somewhat nomadic lifestyle. At 15, Kurland ran away to Manhattan, moved in with a sympathetic aunt, and concentrated on becoming an artist. 

She earned her M.F.A. from Yale University in 1998. The following year, Kurland exhibited in the group show Another Girl, Another Planet, which critics considered a preview of a new generation of talented and innovative female photographers.

Both Kurland’s childhood adventures and her current experiences influence her working style and subject matter. She now spends much of her time on the road, scouting locations for photographs and recruiting models.

While her earlier photographs of schoolgirls were inspired by her own experience as a runaway, the birth of her son Casper in 2004 shifted her focus to pregnant women and mothers. Kurland also attributes her more recent photographs of trains and train stowaways to Casper’s love of those vehicles.

National Museum of Women in the Arts