Mona Kuhn
Mona Kuhn
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American photographer Mona Kuhn (1969-present) is known for her large-scale photos of the nude human form. She draws inspiration for her work both from classical art and the desire to examine — and sometimes transform — how society views the natural human body. Much of her photography focuses on capturing people feeling comfortable in their own skin, while still exuding a sense of dreamy beauty. Kuhn is known for developing close relationships with her subjects and making them feel at ease in her presence, resulting in a unique type of playful intimacy in her photos. The deep connections Kuhn cultivates with her models not only lend a physical closeness to her work, but a sense of the emotional connections she has developed as well. Indeed, many of her pieces manage to somehow be both whimsical and sensual at once. Kuhn once remarked, "I always feel that people are dressed in their own skin,” and her work features a wide array of subjects — including friends and family members — in their most natural states. “[The nude] is an art-historical costume you can't get away from,” the artist said. “And if nude is a costume, then naked would be a uniform."

Kuhn was born to German parents in São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to the United States in 1989 to earn her Bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University. In 1996, she continued her studies at The San Francisco Art Institute; she currently works as an independent scholar at The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. She also occasionally teaches at University of California, Los Angeles and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Kuhn’s monographs include Photographs (2004), Evidence (2007), Native (2010), Bordeaux (2011), Private (2014), and She Disappeared into Complete Silence (2018), all published by Steidl. 

Kuhn's work is included in the collections of The J.Paul Getty Museum, The Louvre Museum in France, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Pérez Art Museum in Miami, The Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego, The George Eastman House, the Griffin Museum in Boston, Miami Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, Georgia Museum of Art, The International Center of Photography and the Sir Elton John Collection. In Europe, her work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art in London, England; Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany; Musée de l'Élysée in Switzerland; the Leopold Museum in Vienna, Austria and the Australian Center for Photography in Sydney.