Starn Twins

Doug and Mike Starn, born in 1961, are American artists, identical twins, and a dynamic artist duo whose work has transcended traditional categorization. Their innovative approach interweaves disciplines such as sculpture, photography, architecture, painting, video, and installation, to explore themes of interconnection and interdependence.

The Starn brothers first gained international attention at the 1987 Whitney Biennial. Since then, they have primarily worked conceptually with photography, developing a penetrating conceptualization of light. For the Starns, light serves as a metaphor for creativity, intelligence, and the way we live our lives. Their work also addresses chaos, time, organic systems, and structures, continually defying easy categorization by combining traditionally separate artistic disciplines.

From 1989 until his passing in 1999, the Starn brothers were represented by the renowned Leo Castelli. Their work has been showcased in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide, earning them a place among the most respected contemporary artists. Notable publications featuring their work include Gravity of Light (Skira/Rizzoli 2012), Attracted to Light (Blind Spot/powerHouse 2003), and Doug and Mike Starn (Abrams 1990).

Their pieces are held in significant public and private collections internationally. The Starns have received two National Endowment for the Arts Grants and the International Center for Photography’s Infinity Award for Fine Art Photography in 1992. They also served as artists-in-residence at NASA in the mid-1990s.

One of their most iconic works is Big Bambú, an installation titled You Can’t, You Don’t and You Won’t Stop, which was exhibited in the roof garden of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010. This exhibit became the 9th most attended in the museum’s history. Over six months, the Starns and their team of rock climbers continuously sculpted over 7,000 bamboo poles to form a performative architecture resembling a seascape with a 70-foot cresting wave above Central Park. Big Bambú symbolizes the complexity and energy of a living organism. Other iterations of this series are housed in the Macro Museum in Rome, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and were featured at the 54th Venice Biennale and the Setouchi Triennale.

In 2009, the Starns were commissioned by the Arts for Transit program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to design a permanent installation for the New York City Subway’s South Ferry terminal. Their large-scale installation covers the walls of the terminal with depictions of tree limbs and maps of Manhattan on glass-fused walls.

Their first permanent installation, See it split, see it change, inaugurated at the South Ferry subway terminal, features glass, metal, and a stone mosaic. Additionally, since June 2014, a new permanent installation, Big Bambú: 5,000 Arms To Hold You, has been part of the Israel Museum Jerusalem sculpture garden.

Untitled Leaf

Mike and Doug Starn Untitled Leaf