John Coplans

Dates1920 - 2003

Following a career as a teacher, curator, and editor, John Coplans took up photography full-time at age sixty. He began painting as a young man, after a tour of duty in the British Armed Forces during World War II. In 1960 he immigrated to the United States, where he settled in San Francisco and taught at the University of California, Berkeley. Two years later, he founded the periodical Artforum and served as its editor until 1980. Around the same time he also worked as director of the Art Gallery at the University of California at Irvine, as senior curator at the Pasadena Art Museum, and from 1978 until 1980 as director of the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, where he founded the Midwestern art magazine Dialogue.

In 1980 Coplans moved to New York and turned his attention to photography. In 1984 he began creating an ongoing series of self-portraits.