Oliver Herring was born in 1964 in Heidelberg, Germany. He received his BFA from Oxford University, and his MFA from Hunter College. He currently lives and works in New York City.
Herring is known internationally for his use of experimental techniques as a means to better understand human nature, individual behavior, and interpersonal dynamics. Since his first solo exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, which featured hand-knit Mylar and tape sculptures, Herring’s creative practice has evolved to include videos, performances, three-dimensional photographic sculptures, and TASK — a simple performance structure that manifests itself as an ongoing series of events, workshops, and parties. TASK has been established as an educational tool in schools at all grade levels, as an access point to contemporary art and a social icebreaker. Since 2000, he has focused primarily on brief yet intensive collaborative encounters with volunteer participants. These open-ended performances, usually involving a series of improvised actions, take place in different environments, and feature groups of people interacting with each other. The resulting works not only record these impromptu activities, but also reveal the poignancy implicit in humanity when strangers expose their vulnerabilities and embrace trust.
Herring’s work has been exhibited widely at venues around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Frye Art Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Kyoto Art Center, and the He Xiangning Art Museum. His work has also been featured at major international exhibitions such as Performa, the Lyon Biennale, Configura II, and the Aichi Triennale.