Richard Barnes

Richard Barnes divides his time between commissioned work and personal projects. He has had numerous exhibitions in this country and abroad including solo shows at the Carnegie Museum of Art, The Carpenter Center at Harvard University and the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, among others. He was the recipient of the Rome Prize in 2005/06 and his photographs from Rome formed the basis for his book and installation titled “Animal Logic”. His body of work on the “Unabomber cabin” was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and was shown recently in the exhibition, “Crime Unseen” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.  He received the Eisenstadt Award in Photography for the “Unabomber Cabin” and in 2009 he was the recipient of the Sidman Fellowship for the Arts from the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities. In 2011 he was awarded the Julius Shulman Award in Photography. His photographs are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco MOMA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, among others. He works on assignment for such publications as the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic and the New Yorker.

His book “Animal Logic” can be found here.

About “Animal Logic”:

A buffalo stands horns to head with a man who is calmly vacuuming the snow-covered plains beneath its feet. A herd of plastic-wrapped zebras surrounds a giraffe, while a man on scaffolding above paints them a lovely trompe l’oeil sky.Photographer Richard Barnes has spent more than ten years documenting the way we assemble, contain, and catalog the natural world. Barnes’s behind-the-scenes photographs are haunting reminders that there is nothing natural about a natural history museum.

Animal Logic, Barnes’s first monograph, collects four related species of his photographic work that touch on themes relevant to science, history, archaeology, and architecture. Through his lens, sights and objects normally hidden from public view—half-installed dioramas, partially wrapped specimens, anatomical models, exploded skulls, and taxidermied animals in shipping crates—take on a strange beauty. Barnes peels back layers ofartifice to reveal the tangle of artistry, craftsmanship, and curatorial decisions inside every lifelike diorama and meticulously arranged glass case. Animal Logic investigates both the human desire to construct artificial worlds for “the wild” and the haunting and poignant worlds the real wild constructs. Barnes’s camera freezes migrating starlings to reveal the visual poetry hidden inside their dense formations. His extraordinary photographs of birds’ nests constructed from detritus—string, plastic, milkweed, tinsel, hair, dental floss, pine needles—sculpturally embody our often complicated relationship with nature. Animal Logicpresents more than 120 of Barnes’s photographs and includes essays by Jonathan Rosen of the New York Times and curator Susan Yelavich, which explore the themes that emerge from Barnes’s unique body of work.