R. J. Kern

R. J. Kern (b. 1978) is an American artist whose work explores ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place through the interaction of people, animals, and cultural landscapes.

His work has been exhibited in a number of notable exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art (Tbilisi, Georgia), the National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), the Yixian International Photography Festival (Anhui, China), and solo exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography (Boston, MA) and the Plains Art Museum (Fargo, ND). Awards and accolades include PDN’s 30 2018, Critical Mass 2018 Top 50, CENTER 2017 Choice Award Winner (Curator’s Choice, First Place), the 2017 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize (Finalist), and three Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board (2016, 2018, 2020). He was the Commemorative Artist for the 2019 Minnesota State Fair.

Kern's work has been presented in a number of publications, including a feature in National Geographic (November 2017), with his series The Unchosen Ones and Out To Pasture. Kern published his first monograph with Kehrer Verlag titled, The Sheep and the Goats, awarded one of "The Most Beautiful German Books 2018” by Stiftung Buchkunst and awarded Bronze by the prestigious Deutscher Fotobuchpreis 2018-19.

Selected Exhibitions

The Unchosen Ones, Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND
The Best of the Best, Burnet Fine Art & Advisory, Wayzata, MN

The Unchosen Ones, The Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA
The Sheep and the Goats, Burnet Fine Art, Wayzata, MN
The Sheep and the Goats, Mirage Gallery, Kobe, Japan
The Sheep and the Goats, Klompching Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

The Sheep and the Goats, Yixian International Photography Festival, Anhui, China
The Unchosen Ones... Out To Pasture, Gallery 360, Minneapolis, MN
The Unchosen Ones... Out To Pasture, Central Lakes College, Brainerd, MN
The Unchosen Ones, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson Hospital & Clinic Healing Arts, Hudson, WI

Divine Animals: The Bovidae, Ecce Gallery, Fargo, ND
Divine Animals: The Bovidae, Kaddatz Gallery, Fergus Falls, MN

Divine Animals: The Bovidae, Sanford Health Roger Maris Cancer Center, Fargo, ND


Center for Creative Photography, Tuscon, AZ

Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY

Fidelity Corporate Art Collection, Boston, MA

Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX

Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND

Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tarpon Springs, FL

General Mills Corporate Collection, Minneapolis, MN

Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA

Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL