Ash Thayer is a photographer and multi-media artist based in Los Angeles, CA. Ash was born in Memphis, TN and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, receiving a B.F.A. in Photography, then went on to earn an M.F.A. in Visual Arts at Columbia University. As a political activist involved in humanitarian and environmental issues, Thayer became involved in the housing crisis in New York in the 1990s after her own personal struggles with finding affordable housing while attending college. Thayer discovered the squatting community on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and lived in several of these buildings throughout the 90s. This work resulted in a monograph published by powerHouse Books in March of 2015, Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000.

Her work lives in the interstices of personal history, current politics, and historical narratives. Her work has evolved to include video, live performance, sound and sculptural installations.

Thayer's work is held in several art collections including the Saatchi Gallery in London, The Chicago Art Institute, and The Museum of the City of New York. She has taught as an adjunct professor at New York University, Columbia University, and The New York Institute of Photography.


Solo Exhibitions:

2015         Superchief Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2015         Kill City, powerHouse Arena, Brooklyn, NY

2007        Salon de Refuse, Sleep, Brooklyn, NY


Select Group Exhibitions:

2017    Femmes Video Art Festival No. 3, The Situation Room, Eagle Rock, CA

2016    Respectability Politics,  Outlet Gallery, 253 Wilson Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11327

2016    Heroine, Elizabeth Houston Gallery, December 9, 2015 - January 24, 2016

2015     Hit The Street, Outlet Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2015     Vroom, Vroom, Outlet Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2014      Bikesploitation, Ornamental Metals Museum, Memphis, TN

2011       A Wealth of Plunder, New Albany Heritage Museum

2010      Father Daughter Exhibition, Memphis College Of Art, Memphis, TN

2009      Obsessions, 取り憑かれている情熱- MEM, Osaka, Japan

2004       Marian Boesky Gallery, Auction to benefit The Richard Foreman Hysterical Theatre

2003       Innocence and Transgression, The Proposition, New York, NY September 2003

2001        Sundance Film Festival, Doubletake Magazine at The House Of Docs, Sundance Institute, Park    

                City Utah

2001        How The West Was Won, CMC Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 2001

2001        The Sidewalk Never Ends, Chicago Art Institute, November, 2001

2000-02  Visualizing the Blues, Dixon Gallery, Memphis, TN, traveling exhibition

2000        Columbia University Thesis Exhibition Brooklyn, NY

2000        New York Now 2000, Museum of the City of New York

1998         Associated, Kean College, New Jersey

1997          New Narratives, New Talent, Lawrence Miller Gallery

1997          Berlin Art Fair facilitated by Lawrence Miller Gallery



004-2007         Studied acting and directing, Terry Schreiber Studios in New York NY

2000                   M.F.A. Columbia University, New York, NY

1997                    B.F.A. The School of Visual Arts, New York, NY




Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000, by Ash Thayer, powerHouse Books, March 2015


Catholic No. 1: Cats, Edited by Jesse Pearson and Glynnis McDaris, D.A.P.


World Series, NYLON Magazine


I Am A Camera, The Saatchi Gallery, Booth-Clibborn Editions

Bystander, Little, Brown and Company

Visualizing the Blues, The Dixon Gallery


35 North, 90 West, Doubletake Magazine, September Issue

Authored Publications:

Feature Shoot, Ash Thayer, “A Photographer’s ContemplativeJourney Throughout The Southern United States," Interview with Glynnis McDaris, June 5, 2015



Viking Women: The Crying Bones          In Production       Writer, director, producer

Enmity: A Love Story                                2016                     Writer, director, producer

Without You                                              2014                      Writer, director, producer


Artistic Awards & Grants:

2007                       The Steinhardt Adjunct Faculty Professional Development Fund

1997                        Jack Smith Award, Hips Road Recording Company

1992                        National Scholastics Award


Public Art Collections:

Museum of the City of New York

Saatchi Gallery, London, England

Chicago Art Institute

The Dixon Gallery, Memphis, TN


Academic Employment:

2005- 2008                           Adjunct professor, photography,  The School of Art and Art Professions, NYU

2005-2011                              Adjunct professor, photography, The New York Institute of Photography

2004-2005                            Adjunct professor, photography, at Columbia University

Summer 1999 and 2000       Adjunct professor, photography, Columbia University(two courses)


Select Press:

Hunger Magazine, GO BACK IN TIME TO ASH THAYER’S PHOTOGRAPHS OF NYC SQUATTERS IN THE 90s, Max Grobe, Published on 24 February 2016

ausreiBer, KILL CITY, Review, Evelyn Schalk, summer 2015

Visual Arts Journal, School of Visual Arts, KILL CITY, Fall 2015

Professional Women Photographers, Mean Streets:4 Photographers, 4 Decades, by Catherine Kirkpatrick, October 2015

i-D Magazine, Intimate Punk Portraits of 90s Lower East Side Squatters, Emily Manning, July 24,2015

American Photo, The 10 Best New Books of Spring 2015, by Jack Crager, March 23, 2015

American Photo, Ash Thayer on Capturing the Squatters on the Lower East Side, By Jeanette D. Moses Posted April 8, 2015

The New Yorker, Squatters of the Lower East Side, Jackson Krule, March 3, 2015

Daily Mail, Punks, drunks and runaways in repose: An insider's point-of-view reveals the intimate side of squatters in the 1990s Lower East Side, by Josh Gardner, March 29, 2015

Fast Company, The Squatters Of '90s New York City, In Pictures, Carey Dunne, March 19, 2015

Flavorwire, Intimate Portraits of ’90s New York City Squatters, By Alison Nastasi on Mar 22, 2015

The Villager, Squatters Live In Kill City, by Norman Borden

Bust, 8 Squatters Squatting In This Photo Book About 90'S N.Y.C., by Madison N. Nunes

The Guardian, Squatting in New York remembered: We were living out our ideals, Alex Rayner, December 15, 2014

MSNBC (online video), The Book Report with Richard Wolffe, 3/31/15

The New York Observer, Take a Rare Look at New York’s Squat Communities in the 1990s, by Jennifer Nuefeld

Time Out New York, See Classic Photos of the Lower East Side’s ‘90s Squatter Population, Howard Halle, March 31, 2015


Hunger Magazine, (8page print spread), Kill City, by Holly Fraser

Chelsea Now, Squatters Live in Kill City, Norman Borden, April 2, 2015

Sang Bleu, France (Print)

The Guardian, Squatting in New York remembered, Alex Rayner, December 15, 2014

Vice France, Noisey, Rod Glacial, Ash Thayer Squattait Le Lower East Side Dans Le Annes 90 Et En A Ramene Plein De Photos, January 22, 2014

NY Times,  Colin Moyniham, Squatter’s Paradise Lost, October 6, 2013

The Atlantic, Mark Byrnes,  The Life of a 1990s Manhattan Squatter, October 31, 2013  

Feature Shoot,  Photos from an East Village, NYC Squatter Community in the 90s, Jenna Garett,  October 28, 2013