Lisa McCarty


Curator, Archive of Documentary Arts, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Instructor, Center for Documentary Studies, MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts, Arts of the Moving Image program, and Graduate Liberal Studies program.

My research on cultural landscapes and photographic processes is driven by my interest in countercultures: disruptive technologies, communities, and philosophies that subvert dominant societal values. My subjects, such as the Transcendentalists or William Gedney, experimented with accepted methods of representation and sought after intentional communities in search of utopia in their contemporary societies. I carry out this research in two ways. First, through my studio practice in which I create photographs, books, and videos. Second, through my curatorial practice in which I preserve works by other artists through exhibitions and publications.

McCarty has participated in over 70 exhibitions and screenings at venues such as the American University Museum, Amherst College's Eli Marsh Gallery, Carnegie Museum of Art, Chicago Photography Center, Fruitlands Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography, Houston Center for Photography, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Visual Studies Workshop. McCarty’s photographs have also been featured in a variety of international festivals including Noorderlicht, Picture Berlin, and Sören Kierkegaard in Images, while her moving images have been screened at the New York Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Experiments in Cinema, Cairo Video Festival, Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival, and Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival. Her first book as a contributing writer and editor, William Gedney: Only the Lonely, 1955-1984 (co-written with Gilles Mora and Margaret Sartor), was published by the University of Texas Press and Editions Hazan in 2017. Her first book of photographs, Transcendental Concord, was published by Radius Books in 2018.

McCarty holds a BFA in Studio Art from George Mason University and a MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts from Duke University. Lisa has held curatorial positions in nonprofit and academic galleries, as well as private collections and museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library, the District of Columbia Arts Center, George Mason University Art Galleries, Transformer Gallery, Cassilhaus Gallery and Collection, the Nasher Museum of Art, the Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where she is currently curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts.