silver gelatin print, Via Dolorosa, 2020. See "The Photograph is Always Now."
Farrah Karapetian (b. CA 1978) is an artist, writer, and public thinker from Los Angeles. Recognized for her work in a haptic, cameraless photography, Karapetian's broader strategy is a targeted, poetic misuse of mediums in order to do justice to narrative input. She is motivated by the agency of individuals in the face of political or personal change, including her own, and works to make that agency palpable. She also tries to slow down and capture elements of slippery photographic circulation, and reveal parts of micro-political culture that evade the dramatic binaries of media's algorithms. Her work is influenced by the early Soviet avant-garde tradition which strongly ties abstraction, photography, and political expression.
Karapetian's artwork is in public collections that include the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. She is a recipient of a Art Prospect Network 2021 Fellowship, spending June 2022 in Uzbekistan; a City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship (2020); a Fulbright Fellowship to Russia (2018); a Pollock-Krasner Award (2017); a California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Fellowship (2014); and a Warhol Arts Writers Grant (2013); among other honors. Recent institutional exhibitions include Direct Contact: Cameraless Photography Now, Eskenazi Museum (2023); Sightlines SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA (2022); The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018); Synthesize, MOCA Jacksonville (2017); Light Play: Experiments in Photography, 1970 to the Present, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2017); and A Matter of Memory, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY (2016.)
She holds an MFA from the University of California at Los Angeles and a BA from Yale University. She leads the photography area of the Department of Art, Architecture + Art History at the University of San Diego, where she works on reorienting the history and practice of the medium for a more critically engaged future. Connecting students to community partners in the Baja California region, she is currently working closely with the IRC San Diego and the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice to emphasize the expertise of refugees through art, film, and humanitarian practice.