Amir Zaki: Building + Becoming

272 pages, fully illustrated in color.
Monograph covering 20+ years of photographic work, includes an essay by Walter Benn Michaels and Jennifer Ashton and an interview with Corrina Peipon.
25x29cm portrait format, double gatefold.

$80 | 9781954600010 (hardcover)

Co-published with X Artists’ Books.
Buy this book here.


“Zaki titled each photograph with the year a pier was built, dutifully followed by notations of the years in which the structure was seriously damaged or had to be rebuilt. […] All is not lost, however, as a bit of curdled hope peeks over the horizon. The piers in the pictures being fabrications, what you see is not documentary. Zaki’s shrewd and elegant digital photographs offer the newest pier renovation, so life does go on — at least for the moment. Whether that digital sleight-of-hand ranks as construction, damage or perhaps both is up to you.”

Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times

Zaki’s images are often haunting, the skate parks rendered as Brutalist architecture.
Los Angeles Times

Read full article here.

Wherever he turns his attention, Zaki’s eye-befuddling wizardry takes you deep below the surface.
Seattle Times

A trip to Egypt at age 11 with his father had a particular impact, he says, on how he viewed the world. “I learned that there was much more than my suburban neighborhood. And my father’s family was so welcoming and caring, especially the grandfather I’d only met once,” he says. “I also learned humility by going someplace where you don’t understand the language. […]

This kind of openness, it turned out, was also part of skateboard culture, where all you needed was a board to be accepted.

Meditative philosophy is rooted in Zaki’s appreciation for Eastern contemplative traditions […] “One can easily imagine a skateboarder flying through the air without seeing them,” Zaki said. “They become more imaginative and open as spaces for me. There is a parallel with meditative practices that allow one to quiet and empty the mind.”

Iconic and easily overlooked, lifeguard towers—pedestals for tanned, robust, youthful saviors—become, in Zaki’s work, unex­pectedly and unforgettably alien.
Art in America

Amir Zaki makes stately, often elegant photographs that subtly undermine perceptions of coherence and stability in architecture. […] His relentlessly inquisitive spirit uncovers the peculiar, the precarious, the buoyant and the beautiful in the structures we tend to pass with little thought.
Los Angeles Times

Art in Review; “The New City: Sub/Urbia in Recent Photography”, New York Times (January 6, 2006)


Photo: Ian Byers-Gamber

Amir Zaki is a practicing artist who lives in Southern California. He received his MFA from UCLA in 1999 and, since, has been regularly exhibiting nationally and internationally. Zaki has had over 30 solo exhibitions at institutions and galleries including the Mak Center Schindler House, the Doyle Arts Pavilion, the Dalian Modern Museum (China), ACME gallery, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, James Harris Gallery, Edward Cella Art & Architecture, and Roberts Projects (formerly Roberts and Tilton). He has been included in over 50 group exhibitions in significant venues including The California Biennial: 2006 at the Orange County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Andreas Grimm Gallery in Munich, Germany, Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York, Flag Art Foundation in New York, Western Bridge in Seattle, Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago, the California Museum of Photography, Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Nevada Museum of Art.

Zaki’s work is part of numerous public and private collections across the country including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), UCLA Hammer Museum, the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington, the Orange County Museum of Art, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Zaki has three prior monographs, VLHV (2003), Eleven Minus One (LAXART and Eighth Veil, 2010) and California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks (Merrell, 2019). He has been included in the Phaidon anthology of contemporary photography, Vitamin Ph, and contributed essays to LACMA’s groundbreaking text, Words Without Pictures. He has been included in both an Aperture anthology organized by Charlotte Cotton called Photography is Magic, which addresses a major technological shift in contemporary photographic practices, as well as the anthology Both Sides of Sunset: Photographing Los Angeles.