About the Photographer
American, b. 1962
Multimedia artist Michelle Grabner’s photographs limn the intersections of sports, gender, and technology. Shooting televised NFL games with a cell phone camera, Grabner amplifies our already mediated experience of the game, extending the technological sidelines from which we participate. In a nod to Nancy Holt’s 1980s series “Time Outs,” Grabner elaborates on our increasing reliance on devices as portals through which we escape from everyday life and, in this case, into the immersive fantasy of belonging to an extended team of players and spectators.
Grabner was born only a few years prior to the 1972 Title IX Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which ensures gender parity in collegiate athletics. Yet the reality is that even today football remains a male-dominated environment. Just as Holt had photographed televised games reflecting on her parents’ prohibition against her watching them as a girl, so too does Grabner defy entrenched expectations that football is a game played by and for men.
Grabner’s broader artistic practice spans drawing, painting, video, and sculpture. She is a curator, educator, writer, and co-founder of the nonprofit art spaces The Suburban and The Poor Farm. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, among others. In 2012, Grabner was selected as one of three curators for the 2014 Whitney Biennial in New York.