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While my work encompasses video, performance, drawing, and social engagement, my core practice focuses on spare, stripped down videos where I perform made-up rituals or choreographies using everyday objects and artifacts, like rocks, flashlights, and string. Modeled on the coping mechanisms and habitual behaviors that offer symbolic and/or psychological comfort, these rituals are my attempt to manage the vulnerability, awkwardness and discomfort that one bumps up against on a regular basis. While these practices may be effective in certain ways, they also fall short. As such, I teeter agnostically between futility and agency, doubt and hope. 


Whether I am working alone or engaging the public directly, I always play the part of amateur healer or witch, offering a service I can only deliver through mutual delusion or faith. I think of my process as an interactive performance in social space, and I work in the lineage of artists such as Lygia Clark, Susan Hiller, Bruce Nauman, and Bas Jan Ader. I aim to hold space for quiet resistance, vulnerability and humor in the face of overwhelming political, social, and environmental challenges.

Kara headshot light smile.jpg


Chair of Film/Video Department, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY


2007 Master of Fine Arts, Department of Art Practice | University of California, Berkeley, CA

2002 Master of Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts Education, Inter-Arts Center | San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA

1996 Bachelor of Arts, Individual Major, Creative Thought and Action | University of California, Santa Cruz, CA



2023 You Hold Me Here: Kara Hearn & Lisa Biedlingmaier, Spectral Lines, Ridgewood, NY

2022 Tilting at Windmills: Kara Hearn & Micheál O'Connell aka Mocksim, Gallery DODO, Brighton, UK

2021 Antidote on Webster Ave., Arthøle, Port Washington, NY

Self-modulation for a new age, Temp. Files, Online Publication/Video Publishing Cooperative

2019 Present Perfect Continuous (two person show with Barb Smith), Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia, PA

2013 Tremendous, DiverseWorks, Houston, TX

2012 Unnamed Broadway Musical: The Musical!, EFA Project Space, New York, NY

2010 Tremendous, Recess Activities Inc., New York, NY

2009 Hunger makes a fine sauce, Art Palace, Austin, TX

One thing after another, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

2008 How can the light deny the dark?, Galería Perdida, Houston, TX

A tent in which to read The Invisible Man, MainSite Contemporary, Norman, OK

A Problem of Courage, DiverseWorks, Houston, TX

2006 Re-enacted Scenes, Small A Gallery, Portland, OR

Curated: Harrell Fletcher on Kara Hearn, Art Disk, Chicago, IL

Bonus Track Special for You (onsite intervention), Four Star Video, San Francisco, CA

Movie Recommendation Project (onsite intervention), Silver Screen Video, El Cerrito, CA

Dr. Magik’s Curiosity Booth, Artists Television Access, San Francisco, CA

2003 Walt's Fortune Roadside Stand (onsite intervention), Old San Antonio Road, Fredericksburg, TX



2024 Summer Exhibition, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

An Egg in a Dream in a Landscape, Schafler Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2023 Undelete, Wendy’s Subway, Brooklyn, NY

Interdependence and Coliberation, Light Year, Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY

Documents, Gallery DODO, Brighton, UK

2022 Exquisite Moving Corpse organized by Chip Lord, Jack Massing and Sean Miller, Microscope Gallery, New York, NY

2021 Experimental Pints & Pictures, The Lyric Cinema, Fort Collins, CO

2019 Ad Astra Per Aspera, Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY

Antimatter [media art] Festival, Victoria, BC, Canada

2018 Apparatus 2.0, Foundation and Centre for Contemporary Arts, Prague, Czech Republic

It’s Bedtime Somewhere, House of Performance Event, Queens, NY

2017 The Laughable Enigma of the Ordinary, Arquipélago Centro de Artes Contemporaneas, Azores, Portugal

Is That A Gun In Your Pocket? A Tribute to Mae West, organized by Perry Bard, Performance Night, Studio 10, Brooklyn, NY

Antimatter [media art] Festival, Victoria, BC, Canada

Dallas Medianale, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX

Far-Sighted: Film Video Faculty Exhibition, Schafler Gallery, Pratt Institute, New York, NY

2016 Apparatus for a Utopian Image, EFA Project Space, New York, NY

Antimatter [media art] Festival, Victoria, BC, Canada

Double Act: Art and Comedy, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK

Felt Book, The Institute for New Feeling, online publication based in Los Angeles, CA

Topical Breach, Mainsite Gallery, Norman, Oklahoma

2015 Epic Stories: Forging meaning amidst memory, allegory and culture, Hardesty Arts Center, Tulsa, OK

2014 Six of one, half a dozen of the other, DiverseWorks, Houston, TX

2012 Celeste Prize Exhibition, Centrale Montemartini, Rome, Italy

Recess at MoMA, MoMA PopRally, New York, NY

Possible Projects Residency, Concept Plus Object, online, based in Philadelphia, PA

You.Me.We.She, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
MAD-LIB[rary], Independent Curators International, New York, NY

2011 Bloodlines, Craftswoman House, Pasadena, CA

Land Before Skype, CS13, Cincinnati, OH

 It's better to regret something you have done..., Art Palace, Houston, TX

Me, My Camera, and I, Pace Digital Gallery, New York, NY

Two Sheets Eight Pages, Possible Projects, Brooklyn, NY

Material & deStructure, PG Contemporary, Houston, TX

You Can Tell a Cowboy by the Horse He Rides, Barbara Seiler Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland

2009 Domestic Disturbance, Worth Ryder Gallery, Berkeley, CA

Artist as Performer, Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX

Core Artist in Residence Exhibition, The Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Protagonist, And/Or Gallery, Dallas, TX

2008 I-35 Biennial Invitational, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas, TX

Alien Audiograph, AUX, Copenhagen, Denmark

Playing Alive: Revisions on Reality, PDX Film Festival, Portland, OR

Core Artist in Residence Exhibition, The Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Weight of the World, Reed Gallery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

2007 Dark Mirror, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA

Body Double, Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Self 2.0, Vertexlist, Brooklyn, NY

Learning to Love You More Exhibition, MU Independent Art Space, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Compass 2007, UC Riverside California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA

Cream From the Top, Arts Benicia, Benicia, CA

Fermata, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA

The Collective Foundation, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

Deadpan Exchange, Kooh-i-nor Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

We Love Cinema, Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Abstract Things, Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, England

2006 Open Walls #2, White Columns, New York, NY

Immediate Futures, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA

American Mythology II, Oliver Arts Center, Oakland, CA

Twisted Stories, Liggett Studio, Tulsa, OK

American Mythology II, Oliver Arts Center, Oakland, CA

Dirty Light, Worth Ryder Gallery, Berkeley, CA

The Odyssey Pocket Myths DVD collaboration, Mix Festival, New York, NY

2004 Festival Images Contre Nature, Marseille, France

Ladyfest Bay Area Film and Video Festival, San Francisco, CA

LABoratory: Exhibition of Experimental Film and Video, Salt Lake City, UT

Women in the Directors Chair International Film and Video Festival, Chicago, IL

Festival Tous Courts, International Festival of Cinema, Aix-en-Provence, France

2003 Festival Images Contre Nature, Marseille, France

Ladyfest Texas Film and Video Festival, Austin, TX

Women With Vision Film Festival, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

2002 Living LABoratory, The Lab, San Francisco, CA

InterArts Center Final Exhibition, The Lab, San Francisco, CA

Festival Images Contre Nature, Marseille, France

Selections from the 2002 New Festival, BAMcinématek, Brooklyn, NY

New York Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, New York, NY

Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema, San Francisco, CA

Dallas Video Festival, Dallas, TX

Festival Images Contre Nature Web Bar, Marseille and Paris, France

2001 Witness Short Films, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA

Festival Images Contre Nature, Marseille, France

2000 Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA

New Langton Arts, San Francisco, CA

Artists Television Access, San Francisco, CA


2022 Pace University, New York, NY

2020 Expanding the Frame, Inclusive Pedagogy on the Departmental Level, Pratt Institute, New York, NY

Artist Talk: Antidotes for troubled times, Barb Smith & Kara Hearn, Science Center Venture Café, Philadelphia, PA

2013 Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

2010 Pace University, New York, NY

2009 New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX



2021 Wassaic Family Residency, Wassaic, New York (July)

Temporary Files, Remote Residency (January/February)

2019 Center for Teaching and Learning Fellow, Pratt Institute

2018 Wassaic Family Residency, Wassaic, New York

Pratt Faculty Development Fund Recipient

2012 Celeste Prize Finalist

2010 Recess Artist-in-Residence, New York, New York

2009 Meredith Long Prize Recipient (Core Program)

Idea Fund Recipient, Andy Warhol Foundation

2007 Core Fellow, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2007-09)

UC Berkeley Eisner Award for Art

2006 Murphy Fellowship in the Fine Arts, sponsored by The San Francisco Foundation


2021 Dabrowska, Tusia. Interview with Kara Hearn, Temp. Files (March 1).

Shaw, Shelby. An Interview with Temp. Files, Screen Slate, (March 17).

2019 López, Wit. Kara Hearn and Barb Smith on their duo art show at Grizzly Grizzly, The Art Blog, December 6.

2016 David Campbell and Mark Durden, Double Act: Art and Comedy, The Bluecoat (July 1).

2013 Desi Gonzalez, “Artists and Audiences: How Can Artists Learn from the Public?,” A Blade of Grass (March 21).

2012 Angela Ashman, "Playtime: Artists go wild at MOMA," The Village Voice (November 7).

2011 Rachel Cook, “Interview: The Transition from Firstness to Thirdness- Kara Hearn,” …might be good (September 16).

2010 Ali Fitzgerald, "Gender (and other) Trouble," Art21 Blog (July 1).

2010 Rachel Reese, “My Tidal Wave Dream – Interview with Kara Hearn,” , The Art Blog (June 8, 2010).

2009 Steffani Jemison, “Artist as Performer,” Art Lies (winter).

Natalie Sciortino-Rinehart, “Critic’s Pick,” (May 11).

2008 Andrea Liu, “2008 CORE A.I.R. Exhibition”, ArtUS (summer 2008, issue 23).

Garland Fielder, “Kara Hearn- A Problem of Courage,” (June 10).

Douglas Britt, “Light, sound, video smoke: all part of DiverseWorks’ atmosphere,” Houston Chronicle (June 6).

Dusti Rhodes, “All by Myself,” Houston Press (June 5-11).

2007 Holly Myers, “’Body Double’: through a lens starkly,” Los Angeles Times (September 12).

2006 David Velasco, “Critic’s Pick,” (June 12).

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