Alfredo Jaar was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1956. He studied architecture and filmmaking, graduating from the Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura in 1979, and Universidad de Chile, Santiago, in 1981.
Jaar’s multidisciplinary artistic practice explores the unequal power relations and sociopolitical divisions that result from globalization. His best-known work, A Logo for America, 1987, used an electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square to display the statement “This is not America” emblazoned across an outline map of the United States. Through an apparently contradictory juxtaposition of word and image, Jaar drew attention to the fact that the word “America” is routinely but erroneously applied to just one part of the two American continents.
Jaar has had solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, New York (1989); Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (1991); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (all 1992); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (both 2005); Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007); and Art Institute of Chicago (2012); Fondazione Merz, Torino, Italy (2013) and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki (2014). A major retrospective of his work took place in 2012 in Berlin at Berlinische Galerie, Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, and Alte Nationalgalerie. His work has been included in the Venice Biennale (1986, 2007, 2009 and 2013, the last time as Chile’s representative); São Paulo Biennial (1985, 1987, and 2010); Istanbul Biennial (1995); and Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (1995 and 2000). He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000. Jaar lives and works in New York.