Rachel Stern (b. 1989, NYC) is a photographer whose work considers the intersection of beauty and power. Her photo-based installations turn to the tableaux and the proscenium creating dialogue between the histories and uses of kitsch and leftist aesthetics. Using materials culled from strip malls and thrift stores she creates images which ask art and visual culture to enter into a discourse of accessibility and, in the spirit of ‘bread and roses’, demand immediate access to beauty.
Her work images a world that might be, built out of the world that is. It is a kitsch paradise, a queer-washed history, and an attempt at hope. She received her BFA in Photography and the History of Art and Visual Culture in 2011 from the Rhode Island School of Design, attended Skowhegan in 2014, and graduated from Columbia University in 2016 with an MFA in Visual Arts. She has exhibited her work at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Baxter St., Brandies University Kniznick Gallery, Ortega Y Gasset Project, Invisible-Exports, and Asya Geisberg Gallery among others. Her work has been featured in BOMB, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Vice, Hyperallergic, and Matte Magazine.