Brian Dettmer/ Brian Dettmer

United States 1974


Brian Dettmer
Brian Dettmer
United States

Brian Dettmer is a New York-based artist born in 1974 in Naperville, Illinois known for his detailed and innovative sculptures with books and other forms of antiquated media.

In his work Brian begin with an existing book and seals its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. He cuts into the surface of the book and dissects through it from the front. He works with knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each layer while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose alternate histories and memories. His work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.

About his work Brian says: “The age of information in physical form is waning. As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress.

The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge. This is the area I currently operate in. Through meticulous excavation or concise alteration I edit or dissect communicative objects or systems such as books, maps, tapes and other media. The medium’s role transforms. Its content is recontextualized and new meanings or interpretations emerge.”

Dettmer’s work has been exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions at galleries, museums and art centers including the Smithsonian (D.C.), Museum of Arts and Design (NY), Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (VA), Museum of Contemporary Art (GA), Museum Rijswijh (Netherlands), Wellcome Collection (England), the Bellevue Arts Museum (WA), The Kohler Arts Center (WI), and the Illinois State Museums (IL). His work has been featured on the CBS Evening News, The New York Times (US), The Los Angeles Times (US), The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Chicago Tribune (US), The Age (AU), ARTnews, Modern Painters, Wired, The Village Voice, Harper’s, Esquire, and National Public Radio among others. Dettmer’s work can be found in several public and private collections throughout the US, Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

Brian Dettmer lives and works in New York, US.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Collective 2 Design FairWexler Gallery, Skylight at Moynihan Station, New York, NYGroup
2014Ex LibrisJ. Johnson Gallery, Jacksonville Beach, FLGroup
2014Boundless: The Book TransformedMesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa, AZGroup
2014IntertwinedThe University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, ILGroup
2014Once Upon a TimeCalifornia State University, Fresno, CAGroup
2014A Human DocumentPèrez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FLGroup
2014E-merge: Contemporary Atlanta ArtistsAtlanta International Airport, Atlanta, GAGroup
2014Collective 2 Design FairWexler Gallery, Skylight at Moynihan Station, New York, NYGroup
2014Ex LibrisJ. Johnson Gallery, Jacksonville Beach, FLGroup
2014Boundless: The Book TransformedMesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa, AZGroup
2013ElementalHaverford College, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PASolo
2013Elemental Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, 2200 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VASolo
2013Featured Artist with Kinz + TillouVOLTA NY, 82 Mercer, New York,NYSolo
2013Elemental SelectionsFullerton Public Library, Fullerton, CASolo
2013Fan ClubMIAM Museum, Sète, FranceGroup
2013The Illuminated LibrarySan Francisco State University, San Francisco,  CAGroup
2013Summer ReadingThe Hole, New York,  NYGroup
2013Drawing Inside the PerimeterThe High Museum of Art, Atlanta,  GAGroup
2013PaperWorksBerkshire Museum, Pittsfield,  MAGroup
2013Rebound: Dissections and Excavations in Book ArtsHalsey Institute, Charleston,  SCGroup
2013Brave New WorldCedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mt. Vernon,  ILGroup
2013Exploring MediaWestern Illinois University, Macomb,  ILGroup
2013Rube Goldberg’s Ghost ,Glass Curtain Gallery of Columbia College, Chicago,  ILGroup
2013The Art of the BookUniversity of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg,  VAGroup
2013E-merge: Contemporary Atlanta ArtistsHartsfield-Jackson Int’l Airport, Atlanta,  GAGroup
2013Hey! Modern Art & Pop CultureMusée de la Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, FranceGroup
2012ElementalMOCA GA, 75 Bennett Street, Altanta, GASolo
2012Brian DettmerUniversity of Maribor Library, Gospejna ulica 10, Maribor, SloveniaSolo
2012Brian Dettmer, Selected WorksJewish Community Center, 3200 California Street, San Francisco, CASolo
2012TextonomyToomey Tourell Fine Art, 49 Geary Street, San Francisco,  CASolo
2012Re-conTEXT: Book as ObjectAllegheny College, Meadville, PAGroup
2012Out of PrintBakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CAGroup
2012Chattanooga GemsHunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TNGroup
201240 Under 40Smithsonian Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.Group
2012Beaten & BoundLubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, INGroup
2012A Cut Above: 12 Paper MastersChristopher Henry Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2012The Art of the BookSeager Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CAGroup
2012Rock, Paper, Scissors: Process & PerceptionAurora University, Aurora, ILGroup
2011Paper BackPacker Schopf, 942 W. Lake Street, Chicago, ILSolo
2011Brian Dettmer, Altered BooksKinz + Tillou, 526 West 26 th St., Suite 416, New York, NYSolo
2011Extreme Materials 2Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, NYGroup
2011BookishSan Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CAGroup
2011S L O W ShowThe University of Georgia, Athens, GAGroup
2011BRP  PaperBlack Rat Projects, London, EnglandGroup
2011The (Un)framed PhotographThe Center for Book Arts, New York, NYGroup
2011Book Arts InvitationalHudgens Center for the Arts, Duluth, GAGroup
2011CutEvanston Art Center, Evanston, ILGroup
2011Paperwork in  3DShelburne Museum, Shelburne, VTGroup
2011Old Souls (Reincarnated Object)Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2011Paper CutsFullerton College, Fullerton, CAGroup
2011Movers and Shakers MOCA GA, Atlanta, GAGroup
2011T_XT_RTJenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2010New Worlds to Conquer ,Saltworks, 664 11th Street  NW, Atlanta, GASolo
2010Ex LibrisMiTO, Rosselló 193, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2010The Book: A Contemporary ViewWilmington, DEGroup
2010The Slice AA Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2010Art on Paper 2010Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NCGroup
2010The Cutting EdgeValle Orti, Valencia, SpainGroup
2010SkinWellcome Collection London, EnglandGroup
2010Holland Paper BiennialMuseum Rijswijk, Rijswijk, NetherlandsGroup
2010Paper CutGraphic Design Festival Breda, Breda, NetherlandsGroup
2010Open BookEastern Michigan University Art Gallery, Ypsilanti, MIGroup
2010Substitute TeacherThe Contemporary, Atlanta, GAGroup
2010Hi Fructose 5th Anniversary ShowCopro Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010Beyond WordsKohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WIGroup
2009Brian DettmerThe Ice Palace, 59  NW14th Street, Miami, FLSolo
2009New Mixed MediaToomey Tourell Fine Art, 49 Geary Street, San Francisco,  CASolo
2009AdaptationsPacker Schopf, 942 W. Lake Street, Chicago, ILSolo
2009Slash: Paper Under the KnifeMuseum of Arts and Design, New York, NYGroup
2009Valencia.Art, International Art Fairw/ MiTO Gallery, Valencia, SpainGroup
2009On, Of or About: 50 paper worksTexas State University, San Marcos, TXGroup
2009ProzessLyons Wier, New York, NYGroup
2009All AmericanSalt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, UTGroup
2009A Flood of PicturesSaltworks, Atlanta, GAGroup
2009DeviateSchroeder Romero, New York, NYGroup
2009PapershapersScion Space, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Inappropriate CoversBrown University, Providence, RIGroup
2009Novel IdeasOakville Galleries, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2009The Book BorrowersBellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WAGroup
2009All Over the MapKohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WIGroup
2009CuttersHunter College, New York, NYGroup
2008Brian DettmerKinz, Tillou + Feigen, 529 W. 20th Street, 11th Floor, New York,  NYSolo
2008The Cemetery of Forgotten BooksMiTO, Rosselló 193, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2008Bridge Berlin, International Art Fairw/ Toomey Tourell, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2008Banned & RecoveredSan Francisco Center for the Book, San Francisco, CAGroup
2008DomesticaEdward Day Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2008SelectsRomo Gallery, Atlanta, GAGroup
2008HereThereEverywhereChicago Cultural Center, Chicago, ILGroup
2007Brian DettmerElgin College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, ILSolo
2007Remixed MediaToomey Tourell Fine Art, 49 Geary Street, San Francisco,  CASolo
2007PostoperativeInternational Museum of Surgical Science, 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago,  ILSolo
2007RemnantsHarper College, 1200 W. Alqonquin Rd., Palatine,  ILSolo
2007UrtopiaEdward Day Gallery, Toronto, CanadaGroup
2007Another StoryHyde Park Art Center, Chicago, ILGroup
2007Singularity in the Communal TidePierro Gallery, South Orange, NJGroup
2007Clarence Morgan, Nancy Blum, Brian DettmerRomo Gallery, Atlanta, GAGroup
2006Second NatureArt & Idea, 529 W. 20th Street, Floor 7, New York,  NYSolo
2006Brian Dettmer and Mark CrisantiAron Packer Gallery– Michigan, Three Oaks, MIGroup
2006Silk Road OasisChicago Tourism Center, Chicago, ILGroup
2006InterregnoArt & Idea, Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2006Reconstructing the MundaneUnit B Gallery, San Antonio, TXGroup
2006Heart PounderHotcakes Gallery, Milwaukee, WIGroup
2005Altered StatesAron Packer Gallery, 118 N. Peoria, Chicago,  ILSolo
2005Book WorkDigitas, 111 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago,  ILSolo
2005Project Storm, AuctionMackey Gallery, Houston, TXGroup
2005Think Small!, curated-Robert SillIllinois State Museum Lockport Gallery Lockport, ILGroup
2005The 4th Book & Paper Arts TriennialCenter for Book and Paper Arts, Chicago, ILGroup
2005The Chicago Solution Show ARC Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2005Think Small!, curated-Robert SillIllinois State Museum, Springfield, ILGroup
2004Think Small!, curated-Robert SillIllinois State Museum Chicago Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2004Disparate VisualsNorthern Michigan Univ. Art Museum, Marquette, MIGroup
2003Book Work, Dissections and ExcavationsAron Packer Gallery, 118 N. Peoria, Chicago,  ILSolo
2003New Vibrations, curated– Thomas PlumA & D Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2003If you don’t follow the creative process you screw upGlass Curtain Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2003Politics as UsualAron Packer Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2003Zounds, curated– Jeremy BilesThe Hyde Park Art Center Chicago, ILGroup