American, born 1970
Matt Black, an artist from California’s Central Valley, produces enigmatic narrative works in his native region and in related places that are deeply grounded in societal and environmental concerns. Since 2014, Black has traveled over 100,000 miles across 46 states for his project American Geography, a personal portrait of an increasingly divided and unequal America. Black’s gripping images of some of the most marginalized communities in America are as visually captivating as they are brutally honest and human.
A member of Magnum Photos, Matt Black creates work that while rooted in the documentary tradition, is also noted for its deeply personal approach, emotional engagement, and visual intensity. Excerpts from American Geography have been widely published and exhibited in the United States and abroad. A monograph of the project was published in 2021 by Thames and Hudson which accompanied an institutional exhibition which traveled to the Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2020-21) and the Kunstfoyer, Munich (2021). Other bodies of work by the artist include The Valley, a project focused on the impact of drought and socio-economic inequality on California’s Central Valley agricultural communities, and The Mixteca a body of work documenting life in agricultural regions of Mexico.
In addition to The New Yorker, Black’s work has appeared in TIME Magazine, The California Sunday Magazine, as well as international publications such as Le Monde (France) and Internazionale (Italy). Also a film maker, Black’s short films have been published by The New Yorker, MSNBC, and Orion Magazine. Matt Black has been honored three times by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Prize, has been named a senior fellow at the Emerson Collective, and was the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Award in 2015 for Humanistic Photography.