Claire Pentecost

Professor, Photography

Claire Pentecost has been teaching at SAIC since 1997. She took her sabbatical during the 2020 Academic Year.

Claire Pentecost is an artist and writer who researches the living matters of the unified multi-dimensional being that animates the critical zone of our planet. Her 2012 soil-erg project considered the material of soil as the basis for an alternative economic system. Pentecost’s work is driven by research and inspired by questions of form. She advocates for the role of the amateur in the production and interpretation of knowledge, while a longstanding interest in nature and artificiality predicates her recent responses to anthropogenic climate change. 

Pentecost has exhibited work nationally and internationally at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; 13th Istanbul Biennial; White Chapel, London; 3rd Mongolian Land Art Biennial; MCA Chicago; MSU Broad Museum; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Higher Pictures, New York; Corcoran Museum, Washington, DC; Milwaukee Art Museum; Transmediale 05, Berlin; and American Fine Arts, New York; and many others. She has received awards from the Chicago Public Art Commission, Illinois Art Council, Banff Center for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, along with the Bellagio Residency from the Rockefeller Foundation.


1989 Whitney Independent Study
1988 MFA, Pratt Institute
1983 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
1978 BA, Smith College

Notable Classes Taught:

Symbiosis: Creativity as Connectivity (with Andy Yang)
Rich and Poor
Documentary Practices
Photography and Film
Photography and Place
Discourse and Distribution
The Body and Technology
Knowledge Lab
Advanced Undergraduate Seminar