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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)



April 22, 1974

Lucas Samaras

American, 1936 - 2024

After graduating from Rutgers University in 1959, Samaras participated in "Happenings" in New York City. Staged in lofts and studios, these spontaneous events fused elements of Surrealist spectacle and street theater with banal activities. Since that time Samaras has often made imaginative use of his body as an instrument. For the "Photo-Transformation" series he took instant photographs of himself and quickly messed up parts of their surfaces so that the images did not develop normally. The artist destroyed and recreated himself at the same time, unleashing weird, often scary images.
Internal dye diffusion transfer print (Polaroid film)
3 1/8 x 3 1/16 in. (7.9 x 7.8cm)
General Acquisition Fund
Provenance: The artist; [Pace Gallery, New York]; purchased by Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1975
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryVancouver, British Columbia, Vancouver Art Gallery, The Seattle Art Museum Lends, Mar. 13 - Apr. 11, 1976. No cat. no.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, 200 Photographs from the Museum Collection, Dec. 8, 1983 - Feb. 5, 1984. Text by Rod Slemmons. No cat. no.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Unpretty Pictures, June 26, 1997.

New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Unrepentent Ego: The Self-Portraits of Lucas Samaras, Nov. 13, 2003 - Feb. 8, 2004.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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