Jenny Odell (b. 1986, Mountain View, California) mines imagery from online environments, most often Google Maps, in an attempt to create candid portraits or to insist on the material nature of our modern networked existence. Because her practice exists at the intersection of research and aesthetics, she is often compared to a natural scientist—specifically a lepidopterist. She would spend 80 percent of her life in a library if she could.
Odell has an MFA in design from the San Francisco Art Institute (2010) and a BA in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley (2008). She has had solo exhibitions at Recology, San Francisco (2015), Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco (2014), SPACE Gallery, Portland, Maine (2014), Mesaros Galleries, West Virginia University, Morgantown (2013), Breeze Block Gallery, Portland, Oregon (2012), and Google headquarters, Mountain View, California (2011). She has participated in group exhibitions at Art Works Downtown, San Mateo, California (2015), Haw Contemporary, Kansas City (2015), Expoplu, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (2015), Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York (2015), East Wing, Dubai (2015), SPUR, San Francisco (2014), Swissnex, San Francisco (2014), the Battery, San Francisco (2014), Futur en Seine Festival, La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris (2014), Made in NY Media Center, New York (2014), White Walls Gallery, San Francisco (2014), Worth Ryder Art Gallery, University of California, Berkeley (2013), Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC (2013), SOMArts, San Francisco (2013), Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona (2013), Cain Schulte Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2012), FoMu (Fotomuseum Provincie Antwerpen), Antwerp, Belgium (2012), Phrame, Brussels (2012), Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco (2011), Skirball Center, New York University (2011), and Les Rencontres d’Arles, France (2011). She has had residencies at Recology, San Francisco (2015), the New York Public Library Labs in conjunction with Electric Objects, Miramonte, California (2014), and Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco (2013), and has received the San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant (2013), the Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Design+Technology, San Francisco Art Institute (2010), and a full tuition grant, San Francisco Art Institute (2008–10). Her work has made its way into Time magazine’s LightBox, The Atlantic, The Economist, Wired, the NPR Picture Show, PBS News Hour, and a couple of Gestalten books. She teaches Internet art at Stanford University, and is a contributor to the Virginia Quarterly Review. She lives and works in San Francisco.