Lynne Cohen photographer dead at 69

Lynne Cohen, whose photographs of chilly, depopulated interiors earned her a reputation as one of this country’s most influential artists, has died after a three-year struggle with lung cancer. She was 69. Cohen, who won the inaugural Scotiabank Photography Prize in 2011, leaves behind an enviable list of career accolades that includes pieces in dozens of prominent collections worldwide and exhibitions at major museums here and abroad. She was a recipient of a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. Born in Wisconsin but living in Canada since 1973, Cohen, who was based in Montreal, was at the forefront of a photographic inquiry into the sterile environments we created in the modern era in which to live our lives. Her eye for the unforgiving surfaces of our thoroughly modern communal spaces — swimming pools and offices, lobbies and waiting rooms, military installations — highlighted, in an understated but insistent way, the absurdity of an esthetic with an unintentional dehumanizing effect. Cohen, who was the subject of a major survey exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art last year, has work in such prestigious collections as the National Gallery of Canada, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Her long-time Toronto dealer, Olga Korper, said in a statement that “we feel incredibly privileged to have worked with her and revelled in her tremendous character and passion for her work.”


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