John Lehr (b. 1975, Baltimore, MD) creates photographic objects that present the surfaces of the American commercial landscape as an embodiment of the desires and anxieties of the American people. His approach utilizes the expectations of the documentary as a springboard to draw viewers into an unfamiliar relationship with the artifacts of contemporary American life. Lehr’s transformational process renders signage, facades, and discarded objects as uncanny, hyperreal, symbols of the hopes and fears of a populace at the brink of a tipping point.


Lehr’s work challenges traditional modes of representation through a hybrid process that begins with a vivid photographic description of a subject in the world, and continues with a highly subjective reimagining of light, color, and form both on the computer and in the production of prints in his studio. He then mounts and presents his images using varied methods such as artist made frames, hand-applied varnishes, and sculptural installations that bring viewers into a bodily relationship with the ideas embedded in the work. Each method echoes the content of a given series and reinforces the final work’s presence as a sculptural object. In their physical form, Lehr’s works highlight the gulf that separates representation from experience, and places viewers in a space between the virtual and the real.

Public Collections

The Cleveland Clinic

The Corcoran Gallery of Art

The Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University

The Denver Art Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Morgan Library and Museum

The Museum of Modern Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Yale University Art Gallery




Cotton, Charlotte. “The Photograph as Contemporary Art, Thames and Hudson, 2020

Knoblaugh, Loring. “John Lehr, The Island Position, Kate Werble Gallery”, Collector Daily, 2019

Feurhelm, Brad. “John Lehr: The Island Position Interview”, American Suburb X, 2019

Bisson, Steve. “John Lehr: The Island Position”, Urbanautica, 2019

Dykstra, Jean. “Portfolio: John Lehr: The Island Position”, Photograph Magazine, 2019

Bartman, Jake. “Book of the Week: The Island Position”, Photo-Eye Blog, 2019

Wolukau-Wanambwa, Stanley. “Between Immersion and Interpretation: Charlotte Cotton’s ‘Photography is Magic’” The Great Leap Sideways, 2016

Cotton, Charlotte. “Photography is Magic”, Aperture, 2015

Chuang, Joshua. “The Pure Products of America Go Crazy”, Center for Creative Photography, 2015

Hirsch, Faye. “John Lehr: Kate Werble,” Art in America, 2013

Wilson, Michael. “John Lehr Low Relief at Kate Werble Gallery,” Artforum, 2013

Aletti, Vince. “John Lehr at Kate Werble Gallery,” The New Yorker, 2013

Gunhouse, Carl. “John Lehr, Stet at Kate Werble Gallery” Searching for the Light Blog, 2011

Feaster, Felicia. “Architecture Takes its Lumps in Katie Bollman Walker and John Lehr Photographs at Hagedorn Gallery,” ArtsCriticAtl.com, 2011

Quagliata, Gail Victoria Braddock. “JOHN LEHR Stet,” The Brooklyn Rail, December 2010

Genocchio, Benjamin. “From Malls to Homes to Cars, the Transitioning of Suburbia” The New York Times, 2009

Cotton, Charlotte (ed). “Words Without Pictures,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2009

Blauvelt, Andrew (ed). “Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes,” Walker Art Center, February 2008

Tysh, George. “Three Degrees of Saturation,” Detroit Metro Times, April 2007

Cotton, Charlotte. “What’s so Contemporary about Photography at Yale?” Yale Art Gallery Bulletin, December 2006

Atwood, Roger. “The 48th Corcoran Biennial,” Artnews, June 2005

Lawrence, Sidney. “Uncorked,” Artnet.com, June 2005

Gopnik, Blake. “The Everyday, Turned on Edge,” The Washington Post, March 2005

O’Sullivan, Michael. “The Corcoran in Earnest,” The Washington Post Weekend, March 2005

Maher, Janet. “Artscape in Review,” Peek Review, July 2000

Schaffner, Ingrid and Schlatter, Elizabeth. “Critics Residency Program,” The Washington Review, March 1999


Master of Fine Arts, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 2005

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, 1998