Faculty Profile

Lowry Burgess

Professor of Art
Homepage http://artscool.cfa.cmu.edu/~burgess
Office DH C312 Campus Phone: 412.268.7294


Having been educated at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania and at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel Mexico, Lowry Burgess is an internationally renowned artist and educator who created the first official art payload taken into outer space by NASA in 1989 among his many Space Art works. He is considered one of the few pioneers of the Space Art movement that now has grown to hundreds of artists all over the world.

After the destruction of the Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan in 2001, he authored the “Toronto Manifesto, The Right to Human Memory” that received worldwide endorsement. One of the provisions of the Manifesto has led to the creation of a new global value/incentive for the protection of cultural sites throughout the world. This new value/incentive is in the process being implemented by UNESCO and the World Bank.

His artworks are in museums and archives in the US and Europe. He has exhibited widely in art and science museums in the US, Canada, throughout Europe, as well as Japan including various internationals such as Documenta, the Vienna Biennal and his recent solo exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Art Historian Raymond Vezina, at the University of Quebec, states that “He shares this utopic, visionary tradition extending from Saint Augustine, through Dante, Thomas Moore to William Blake and the American transcendentalists of the 19th century: Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and, more recently Gyorgy Kepes.”

He is Professor of Art and former Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Distinguished Fellow in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. He has founded and administrated many departments, programs and institutions during his 45 years as an educator in the arts. He has created curricula in the arts and humanities in the US and Europe while serving for twelve years on the National Humanities Faculty.

For 27 years he has been a Fellow, Senior Consultant and Advisor at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he created and directed large collaborative projects and festivals in the US and Europe.

“First Night”, the international New Year’s arts festival, was created and founded by him. He originated the first “Arts in the Subways” program for the Department of Transportation and has developed and advised in more than a dozen major city scale projects.

He has received awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and several awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the Kellogg Foundation and the Berkmann Fund. He received the Leonardo Da Vinci Space Art Award from the National Space Society. His book, “Burgess, the Quiet Axis” received the Imperishable Gold Award from Le Devoir in Montreal.

Among his hundreds of exhibitions and performances, most recently, his artworks have been exhibited at SETI in Mountain View, CA., the Festival of Art Outsiders, and the CNES, the French Space Agency in Paris, as well as a solo exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and with his newly formed “Deep Space Signaling Group” in an artwork involving the International Space Station and NASA in April 2008. He continues work on new aspects of his lifework, the “Quiet Axis”.

He has been featured in television and radio broadcasts in the US, Europe, Canada and Japan. (NOVA, “Artists in the Lab”; Smithsonian World, “Elephant on a Hill”, “Artists of Earthwatch”: “Arts and New Technologies” (Tokyo 12); “Artransition” (Austrian, German National Television and 24 other state television systems); “The Quiet Axis” (Hungarian State Television), and more than two hundred national and international radio broadcasts including 3 NPR broadcasts on his works. He has appeared on CBS Today Show and in numerous other appearances on television in Canada and Europe and has been widely published in numerous newspapers and magazines.