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Abeles, Kim Victorialocked

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 28 August 1952, in Richmond Heights (Missouri).

Installation artist, video artist, photographer.

Kim Abeles was an American Field Service student in 1969 in Utsunomiya, Japan, where a Buddhist priest introduced her to traditional Japanese arts. She returned to the USA and studied painting at Ohio University, receiving a BFA in 1974, and studio art at University of California, Irvine, obtaining an MFA in 1980. Abeles has taught at California State University, Fullerton, Claremont Graduate School, University of California, Irvine, and California State University, Northridge. She has received a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in 1990, a J. Paul Getty Trust Fund Visual Arts Fellowship in 1993, a California Art Council Fellowship in 1994, a US Information Agency Grant in 1996 and a Cultural Affairs Department Fellowship in Los Angeles in 1996. She lives and works in Los Angeles.

Abeles uses photography, video and audio to create art focusing on urban environmental problems such as pollution, and social issues such as feminism, ageing, labour and HIV/AIDS. Calling herself a 'concept-seeker and an object-maker', her work begins with the gathering of data, library research and experimenting with unconventional methods. In her Smog Collector series, Abeles invented a technique to create stencilled images made from particulate matter contained in smog. She has linked her art to the development of projects about air pollution with the California Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Environmental Studies Department at Oberlin College. In 1992 Abeles addressed the socio-economic and medical aspects of AIDS by creating HIV/AIDS Tarot, cards with an image on one side and textual information on the other. Commissions include Run-Off Dolphin Suitcase (1994) for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project and Equidistant (1996), an interactive computer work in collaboration with the magazine ArtCommotion. Abeles has also curated exhibitions relating to the Gulf War, pollution, activist art and AIDS.

Solo Exhibitions

1982, Los Angeles City Hall

1981-1983, 1985, 1987, Karl Bornstein Galler

1987, Mt St Marys College, Los Angeles

1989, Prague/LA Exchange, Galerie Mladych, Prague

1990, California Museum of Science and Industry, Los Angeles

1993, Paradise Lost, Cultural Centre of Berchem, Antwerp

1993, Santa Monica Art Museum

1993, Book Ends and Odd Books, Banff Centre for Arts, Alberta

1994, Reuse/Refuse, Honolulu Arts Academy

1994, Old Glory, Cleveland Art Center for Contemporary Art (travelling exhibition)

1996, Subversive Domesticity, Wichita State University, Kansas

1996, National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Long Beach (Long Beach MA)

Los Angeles (County MA)

Los Angeles (Fashion Institute)

Los Angeles (MCA)

Santa Monica (City of Santa Monica)

Washington, PA (Washington and Jefferson College)


  • Bartman, William/Barnes, Lucinda: Kim Abeles, interview, A.R.T. Press, Beverly Hills, 1988.
  • Encyclopedia Persona A-Z: Published in Conjunction with Kim Abeles, Encyclopedia Persona, a Fifteen-Year Survey, exhibition catalogue, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1993.