Oliver Herring (b. 1964, Heidelberg, Germany) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received a BFA from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford, England and an MFA from Hunter College, New York.
Throughout the 1990s, Herring became known for hand-knit Mylar and tape sculptures. Inspired by the death of playwright and drag performer Ethyl Eichelberger, the project lasted ten years, and revolved around marking time through the accumulation of incremental stitched units. In the late 1990s his practice expanded to include improvised stop-motion videos and performances that at first involved friends and eventually strangers on the street. These interactive works were counterpoints to the more stationary and solitary work practice of knitting. A few years later Herring began using volunteers and photography to create elaborately constructed fragmented three-dimensional photo sculptures. Much of his recent work involves human interaction, progressing towards unexpected and / or unpredictable finales.
In 2002 Herring created the improvisatory art event TASK, an ongoing series of events, workshops and parties in which participants of all ages and demographics collectively dream up instructions and carry them out with the materials provided. Increasingly, TASK is becoming a tool in classrooms and communities to access contemporary art in a way that is experimental, open-ended, and accessible to anyone.
Herring’s work has been exhibited widely. In the United States, his work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, NY; the Whitney Museum of Art, NY; Performa 09, NY; the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; the Blanton Art Museum, Austin, TX; and the Denver Art Museum, CO. Elsewhere, he has exhibited at the Camden Art Center, London, England; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; The Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, Japan; the Xth Lyon Biennale, France; Performa 09, NY; Configura II, Erfurt, Germany; and the 2010 Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Japan. Me Us Them, a fifteen year survey of Herring's work, was organized in 2009 at the Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY. TASK has taken place all over the United States and beyond including in classrooms, museums, libraries and even a cornfield. Herring was featured on Season 3 of PBS’s program Art21, Art in the 21st Century.
Oliver Herring's complete exhibition history