Since the late 1980s, Stan Douglas has created films and photographs—and more recently theater productions and other multidisciplinary projects—that investigate the parameters of their medium. His ongoing inquiry into technology's role in image making, and how those mediations infiltrate and shape collective memory, has resulted in works that are at once specific in their historical and cultural references and broadly accessible.
Douglas was born in 1960 in Vancouver, where he continues to live and work. He studied at Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver in the early 1980s. Douglas was one of the first artists to be represented by David Zwirner, where he had his first American solo exhibition in 1993.
In 2021, the artist’s permanent public commission, Penn Station’s Half Century was unveiled in the Moynihan Train Hall, Penn Station, New York. This body of work, commissioned by Empire State Development in partnership with Public Art Fund on the occasion of the dedication of New York City’s new Moynihan Train Hall, is composed of nine vignettes arranged into four thematic panels which explore the rich history of Penn Station.
Douglas’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions worldwide since the 1980s, including the Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin (2019-2020); Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) (2016); Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2016); WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels (2015); and Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2015). In 2013, a major survey of the artist’s work, Stan Douglas: Photographs 2008–2013, was presented at Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain in Nîmes, France. It traveled as Stan Douglas: Mise en scène through 2015 to Haus der Kunst, Munich, followed by Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.
Other major solo presentations of the artist’s work include those held at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2014); Minneapolis Institute of Arts (2012); Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (2007); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005); Serpentine Gallery, London (2002); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1994); and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1987).
The artist’s work was featured in the Venice Biennale in 1990, 2001, 2005, and 2019, and in documenta in 1992, 1997, and 2002. At the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019, Douglas debuted his video installation Doppelgänger and also presented a selection of photographs from his 2017 series Blackout. The artist has been selected to represent Canada at the 59th Venice Biennale, and his presentation, Stan Douglas: 2011 ≠ 1848, is currently on view.
Douglas’s first multimedia theater production, Helen Lawrence, debuted at The Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver, in March 2014 and has subsequently been hosted by the Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich; Edinburgh International Festival; Canadian Stage, Toronto; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; deSingel, Antwerp; and Center for the Art of Performance, University of California, Los Angeles (co-organized by Los Angeles County Museum of Art).
Douglas has been the recipient of notable awards, including the Audain Prize for Visual Art (2019); the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (2016); the third annual Scotiabank Photography Award (2013); and the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York (2012). In 2021 Douglas was knighted a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture.
Work by the artist is held in major museum collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; Vancouver Art Gallery; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.