Working out in the pasture for the "The Unchosen Ones" series in Isanti County and Benton County, Minnesota.

Working out in the pasture for the "The Unchosen Ones" series in Isanti County and Benton County, Minnesota.

R. J. Kern (b. 1978) is an American artist whose work explores ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place through the interaction of people, animals, and cultural landscapes.

His work has been exhibited in a number of notable exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art (Tbilisi, Georgia), the National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), the Yixian International Photography Festival (Anhui, China), and a solo exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Boston, MA). Awards and accolades include PDN’s 30 2018, Critical Mass 2018 Top 50, CENTER 2017 Choice Award Winner (Curator’s Choice, First Place), the 2017 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize (Finalist), and two Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2016, 2018).

Kern's work has been presented in a number of publications, including a feature in National Geographic (November 2017), with his series The Unchosen Ones and Out To Pasture. Kern published his first monograph with Kehrer Verlag titled, The Sheep and the Goats, awarded one of  "The Most Beautiful German Books 2018” by Stiftung Buchkunst and awarded Bronze by the prestigious Deutscher Fotobuchpreis 2018-19.

Selected collections holding his work include the Center for Creative Photography, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, the General Mills Corporate Collection, the Plains Art Museum, the Masur Museum of Art, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.

In 2019, Kern will have a solo exhibition at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND. He was the Commemorative Artist for the 2019 Minnesota State Fair.

He is represented by Burnet Fine Art & Advisory in Minnesota.

DOWNLOAD R. J. KERN'S BIO | DOWNLOAD R. J. KERN’S CV


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019

The Unchosen Ones, Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND

The Best of the Best, Burnet Fine Art & Advisory, Wayzata, MN

2018  

R. J. Kern: The Unchosen Ones, Out to Pasture, The Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA

R. J. Kern, Burnet Fine Art & Advisory, Wayzata, MN

R. J. Kern, Klompching Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2017  

The Sheep and the Goats, Yixian International Photography Festival, Anhui, China

The Unchosen Ones, Out To Pasture, Gallery 360, Minneapolis, MN

The Unchosen Ones, Out To Pasture, Central Lakes College, Brainerd, MN

The Unchosen Ones, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson Hospital & Clinic Healing Arts, Hudson, WI

2015    

Divine Animals: The Bovidae, Ecce Gallery, Fargo, ND

Divine Animals: The Bovidae, Kaddatz Gallery, Fergus Falls, MN

2014    

Divine Animals: The Bovidae, Sanford Health Roger Maris Cancer Center, Fargo, ND

AWARDS AND GRANTS

2019

Commemorative Artist, 2019 Minnesota State Fair

Critical Mass “Top 200” Finalist, Photolucida, Portland, OR

McKnight Foundation Scholarship, Americans for the Arts Annual Convention, Minneapolis, MN

San Francisco Bay International Photography Competition and Exhibition, juried by Elizabeth Avedon, Julie Grahame, Ann M. Jastrab, and David Garnick, First Place

56th Annual Juried Competition Exhibition, Masur Museum of Art, Juror Catherine Futter, Honorable Mention

Brand 47 Annual National Juried Exhibition of Works on Paper, juried by Alma Ruiz, Brand Library and Art Center, Brand Associates Award

6th Open Call, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Juror Aline Smithson, Second Place

2018  

Critical Mass “Top 50”, Photolucida, Portland, OR

Minnesota State Arts Board, Artist Initiative Grant, St. Paul, MN

PDN’s 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch

German Photobook Prize, Bronze

"The Most Beautiful German Books 2018,” by Stiftung Buchkunst

"Great State of Minnesota Award" by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

"First Glance Award," Minnesota State Fair Foundation

Communication Arts 2018 Photo Annual, Award of Excellence, Category: Books

2017  

CENTER Choice Award Winner, Curator’s Choice, Juror Corey Keller, First Place  

Review Santa Fe 100, CENTER, Santa Fe, NM

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, Finalist

2017 International Juried Exhibition, Center for Photographic Art, Juror Philip Brookman, Second Place

The Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Exhibition 160, Silver Award

Renaissance Photography Prize 2017, Finalist

All About Photo Awards 2017: Mind’s EyeWinner and participant in Juror’s Merit Gallery

International Contemporary Art Competition 2017, Open Art Miami, Finalist

Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, juried by Areca Roe, St Paul, MN, Honorable Mention Photography

Arts in Harmony International Juried Art Show, Blaine, MN, First Place Photography

2016   

Minnesota State Arts Board, Artist Initiative Grant, St. Paul, MN

Critical Mass Finalist "Top 200", Photolucida, Portland, OR

ONWARD Compé '16, Project Basho Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, Finalist

Emerald Art Center, Springfield, OR, Best in Show

Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, MA, Juror Award

Cultural Center of Cape Cod, MA, Second Place, Overall

Savage Arts Council 10th Annual Juried Art Competition & Show, Honorable Mention

2015   

Review Santa Fe 100, CENTER, Santa Fe, NM

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2019

A Sampling of Contemporary Portraiture, curated by Ben Breard, Afterimage Gallery, Dallas, TX (Sept 7 - Nov 4)

56th Annual Juried Competition Exhibition, juried by Catherine Futter (Director of Curatorial Affairs, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art), Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA, Honorable Mention

2019 International Juried Exhibition, juried by Paula Tongarelli, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA (Nov 2 - Dec 21)

Red, juried by Fran Forman, A Smith Gallery, Johnson City, TX (Oct 25 - Dec 8)

San Francisco Bay International Photography Competition Exhibition, juried by Elizabeth Avedon, Julie Grahame, Ann Jastrab, and David Garnick, ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA, First Place

Brand 47 Annual National Juried Exhibition of Works on Paper, juried by Alma Ruiz, Brand Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA, Brand Associates Award

107th Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, juried by Peter Wong, St Paul, MN

States of Becoming, Ninth Annual International Juried Exhibition juried by Carrie Dedon (Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Seattle Art Museum), Gallery 110, Seattle, WA

Photowork 2019: 32nd Annual National Juried Photography Exhibition, juried by James A. Ganz (Senior Curator of Photography, J. Paul Getty Museum), Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

6th Open Call juried by Aline Smithson, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Providence, RI, Second Place

Zeitgeist, The 60th Midwestern Invitational Exhibition, The Rourke Art Museum, Moorhead, MN

Art & Artists Among Us, The Public Arts Commission Gallery, Alerus Center, Grand Forks, ND

Triangulate, curated by Nathan Beard, Eivind Natvig, and Kirk Ke Wang, Lofoten International Photo Festival, Kabelvåg and Reine, Norway and China (Fall 2019)

Let’s Go 2, Burnet Fine Art & Advisory, Wayzata, MN

Houston Center of Photography Print Auction 2019 Exhibition, Houston Center of Photography, Houston, TX

Arts North, juried by Curt Pederson, The American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, MN

2018

Yixian International Photography Festival, curated by Guo Jing, Anhui, China

Rokko Photographic Garden, curated by Takeki Sugiyama, Kobe, Japan

Triangulate, curated by Nathan Beard, Eivind Natvig, and Kirk Ke Wang. Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin, FL (traveling)

First Annual Photobook Juried Exhibition, juried by Mary Virginia Swanson, Alice Whiteside, and Dave Wofford, Horse & Buggy Press and Friends, Durham, NC

PDN’S 30 2018: Our Choice of New and Emerging Photographers to Watch, container exhibition, Photoville, Brooklyn, NY

107th Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, juried by Mark Jensen, St Paul, MN. "First Glance Award" and "Minnesota Citizens for the Arts' Great State of Minnesota Award"

Love, Helsinki Photo Festival at Kalasatamanpuisto, juried by Iben Bach Elmstrøm, Rafael Rybczynski, Astrid Gjersøe Skåtterød, Charlie Fjätström, and Tor Ulstein. Helsinki, Finland

Camelot, The 59th Midwestern Invitational Exhibition, Rourke Art Museum, Moorhead, MN

Allegany National Photographic Exhibition, juried by Karen Irvine, Saville and Schwab Galleries, Cumberland, MD

31st Annual McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition, juried by Benjamin Hickey, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA 

Classic Photographs Los Angeles Art Fair, Bergamot Arts Center, Klompching Gallery Booth, Santa Monica, CA

2017  

Zenith: CENTER's 2017 International Photographic Award Winners, juried by Corey Keller (Curator of Photography, SF Museum of Modern Art), Marion Center for Photographic Arts, Santa Fe, NM. First Place

2017 International Juried Exhibition, juried by Philip Brookman (Consulting Curator, National Galley of Art, Washington, DC), Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA. Second Place

The Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Exhibition 160, juried by Karin Bareman, Zelda Cheatle, Sian Davey, Ingrid Pollard, and Abbie Trayler-Smith. PHOTOBLOCK, Old Truman Brewery, London, England. Silver Medal

Renaissance Photography Prize 2017, juried by Clare Grafik, Dewi Lewis, Fiona Rogers, Fiona Shields, Gem Fletcher, Marloes Krijnen, Melissa DeWitt, and Simon Roberts, Getty Images Gallery, London, England. Finalist

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017, juried by Nicholas Cullinan, David Campany, Sabina Jaskot-Gill, Fiona Shields, Gillian Wearing, National Portrait Gallery, London, England. Finalist

The FENCE: A Public Photography Exhibition Series juried by panel of 68, United Photo Industries in Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY;  Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; Santa Fe, NM; Durham, NC; Denver, CO

Americana, juried by Darren Ching, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO

Wild Beasts, Sheep & Crocodiles, Kolga Tbilisi Photo 2017, curated by Tina Schelhorn, Museum of Modern Art, Tbilisi, Georgia

106th Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, juried by Areca Roe, St Paul, MN. Honorable Mention Photography

Roots and Wings, juried by Eric William Carroll, Silverwood Park Gallery, St. Anthony, MN

Revolution, The 58th Midwestern Invitational Exhibition, The Rourke Art Museum, Moorhead, MN

The Art of Giving, juried by Jason Restamayer, North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, ND

Mind’s Eye, Daylighted digital exhibition as part of All About Photo Awards 2017, juried by Beatrice Chassepot, Julien Chatelin, James Dooley, Susan Dooley, Sandrine Hermand-Grisel, Ann Jastrab, Aline Smithson, Judy Walgren, and Sabine Weiss. Phoenix Hotel, San Francisco, CA

Arts North, juried by Curt Pederson, The American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, MN

Arts in Harmony International Juried Art Show, juried by Curt Pederson, Elk River Area Arts Alliance, Blaine, MN. First Place Photography

2016  

The FENCE: A Public Photography Exhibition Series juried by panel of 44, United Photo Industries in Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY;  Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; Santa Fe, NM

Open Door Twelve, juried by Andrea Carlson, Rosalux Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2016 International Juried Exhibition, juried by Linde B. Lehtinen, PhD, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA

PhotoMidwest 2016 Juried Exhibition, juried by Larry Fink, The Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI

National Juried Photography Competition and Exhibition, juried by Susie Morrill, David Turner, and Ron Jude, Emerald Art Center, Springfield, OR

Spirit: Made Here, juried by 22 artists and arts professionals, Hennepin Theater Trust, Minneapolis, MN

A Point of View: Contemporary Photography, juried by Mitra Abbaspour, Site: Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY

Paramount Juried Statewide Art Exhibition, juried by Rachel Daly, Paramount Center for the Arts, St. Cloud, MN

Apertures, juried by Amy Neill, Cultural Center of Cape Cod, South Yarmouth, MA. Second Place

Fun House: Art of the Surreal, Fantastic and Bizarre, juried by Eve Biddle, Barrett Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

Tripping the Light Fantastic: Excellence in Photography, juried by Rowland Scherman, Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit, MA

22nd Juried Show via Instagram juried by Paula Tognarelli and Iaritza Menjivar, Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA

ONWARD Compé '16, juried by Richard Renaldi, Project Basho Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Smörgåsbord, The New Bohemian Gallery at the Franklin Arts Center, Brainerd, MN

Menagerie: Animals in Art, juried by Robert Bowman, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Wayzata, MN

Gallery 360, selected works, Minneapolis, MN

Savage Arts Council 10th Annual Juried Art Competition & Show, juried by Cynthia Kath, Karen Gustafson, and Dan Noyes, Savage, MN

2015    

Gallery 360, selected works, Minneapolis, MN

Newvember, Ecce Gallery, Fargo, ND

Photo Op, juried by Robert Bowman, Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Wayzata, MN

The Art of Giving Group Show, Altru Medical Center, Grand Forks, ND

104th Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, juried by Steve Ozone, St Paul, MN

2014

Newvember, Ecce Gallery in Fargo, ND

PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

2019

Artist Talk, Burnet Fine Art and Advisory, Wayzata, MN

2018

Panelist, Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Access Grant, St. Paul, MN

Artist Talk, Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA

Artist Talk, Emerson College, Boston, MA

Artist Talk, Burnet Fine Art and Advisory, Wayzata, MN

Artist Talk, Hennepin County Historical Society, Minneapolis, MN

Artist Talk, Scott County Historical Society, Minneapolis, MN

Artist Talk, PhaseOne Standout Event, Miami, FL

2017

Artist Talk, CENTER, Santa Fe, NM

Artist Talk, Central Lakes College, Brainerd, MN

Substitute Art Teacher, The Breck School, Golden Valley, MN

2016

Panelist, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, St. Paul, MN

Guest Lecturer, Valor High School, Littleton, CO

Portfolio Reviewer, Art Institutes International MN, Minneapolis, MN

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Center for Creative Photography, Tuscon, AZ

General Mills Corporate Art Collection, Minneapolis, MN

Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA

Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tarpon Springs, FL

Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA

Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL

Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND

University of Minnesota Library, Francis V. Gorman Rare Art Book Collection

 

EDUCATION

2005    MA, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

2000    BA, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY