Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Ari Marcopoulos lives and works in Brooklyn. Since arriving in New York in 1979, Marcopoulos has produced a remarkably diverse oeuvre, portraying leading artists and musicians, skateboarders and snowboarders, and most consistently, the people and places that he encounters in his day-to-day life. ln a body of work that demonstrates a rare empathy for his subjects, Marcopoulos neither patronizes tentative expressions of identity nor romanticizes youthful freedom. His straightforward portraits and lush snapshots capture everyday moments of beauty and anxiety, becoming, as he says, “something that just stands for life lived.”
Marcopoulos started off working at Andy Warhol’s studio printing black-and-white photographs; he then went on to become a studio assistant for Irving Penn. This unique blend of influences shaped Marcopoulos’s artistic vision, which combines Warhol’s unrestricted approach to the subject matter with Penn’s focus on technical expertise and aesthetic refinement.
In the early years of his career, Marcopoulos showed his works at Alleged Gallery, a space founded by American filmmaker, curator, and writer Aaron Rose in the Lower East Side of New York in 1992. Alleged Gallery exhibited many street artists, breaking down the arbitrary boundary between so-called “fine art” and various other means of creative expression. The gallery also brought young artists together and developed a way to transform their elusive and transient ideas into tangible visual forms. Since then, Marcopoulos’s work has been the subject of exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley; and Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, among others. He was also a featured artist in the 2002 and 2010 Whitney Biennials.
Marcopoulos’s recent exhibitions include Upstream, Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen (St. Gallen, 2022); Time Motion, Archive/Project Space (Pittsfield, 2021); #PUNK nora chipaumire, galerie frank elbaz (Dallas, 2021); Into the Now, galerie frank elbaz (Paris, 2020); Ari Marcopoulos. Films. Photographs., Fergus McCaffrey (New York, 2019); and Ari Marcopoulos. 3 Films. 3 Photographs., Fergus McCaffrey (Tokyo, 2019). His works are part of various public collections, such as the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; Detroit Institute of Arts; Frac Grand-Large — Hauts-de-France; Fotomuseum Winterthur; New Orleans Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Whitney Museum of American Art.
Marcopoulos has produced as many as 200 books and limited-edition zines to date, including Ari Marcopoulos: Zines (Aperture, 2023); Epiphany (IDEA, 2016); Not Yet (Rizzoli, 2016); Rome-Malibu (Roma, 2016); Out to Lunch (PPP Editions, 2012); Fumes (Karma, 2015); Directory (Nieves/Rizzoli, 2011); and OUT & ABOUT (Damiani, 2005).