Identical twins and artistic collaborators, Mike and Doug Starn are philosophical in their approach to photography. Their interest in the human questions of meaning, death and desire is evident in their ephemeral subjects—the delicate capillaries and veins of fallen leaves, moths that are drawn to the light, and snowflakes that melt before our eyes. Concerned with the interconnection and interdependence of organic systems and structures, their work defies categorization and combines the traditionally separate disciplines of photography, sculpture, and architecture.
Their lauded 2010 installation Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Don’t and You Won’t Stop on the roof garden of The Metropolitan Museum of Art was on view for six months during which the Starns and their crew of rock climbers continuously sculpted the 7,000 bamboo poles as a performative architecture of randomly interconnected vectors that resembled a 70 ft cresting wave, towering over Central Park. Big Bambú suggested the complexity and energy of an ever-growing and changing living organism.
Graduates of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Starns first drew national attention at the 1987 Whitney Biennial. Their work is collected and shown internationally and they have received, among many other honors, two National Endowment for the Arts Grant; The International Center for Photography’s Infinity Award for Fine Art Photography; and were artists in residency at NASA in the mid-1990s.