Artist Bio

Dan Rose was born Daniel Meredith Rose in Oskaloosa, Iowa, on November 16, 1940. The family moved a number of times as his father who studied with leading theologians, acquired degrees, and taught. Rose’s mother worked as a publisher, newspaper reporter, and executive secretary.

Rose attended the University of Wisconsin where he received an undergraduate degree in anthropology and a masters in sociology. For his Ph.D. dissertation research in cultural anthropology, he received support from the University of Pennsylvania Center for Urban Ethnography, which was founded by John Szwed, Erving Goffman, and Dell Hymes. He lived in a predominantly black neighborhood in South Philadelphia for two years and wrote a book entitled Black American Street Life: South Philadelphia (1969-1971). The book offers a narrative of public life in an American city in the years just after Martin Luther King’s assassination. He was offered a film and television contract for the volume. After the fieldwork, he received a degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin.

Rose joined the faculty of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in the Graduate School of Design. He also taught and lectured as a visiting professor at Universities in the United States and Europe. In addition to his teaching, he consulted to the senior executives of the State Farm Mutual Insurance Companies, made three dimensional art, re-designed automobiles, and published in fields such as anthropology, business, design and planning, poetry, literary journals, and automotive publications. Some of the cars Rose has redesigned have been featured in advertising, books, and magazines. He has written for several publications of the BMW Car Club of America.

In the 1990s, Rose began a highly productive artistic phase, creating well over a hundred artist books. They have been shown primarily on the East Coast and Europe and sold in London through the ICA and Serpentine Galleries and in New York through Printed Matter. Laurie Churchman, of Designlore, approached the University of Pennsylvania Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts about exhibiting Dan Rose’s artist books. The outcome was the exhibition entitled Arbitrary Pleasures/Plaisirs Arbitraires held at the Kamin Gallery of the Van Pelt Library that focused on his DNA-Photon Project and the 20th century influences on his artistic production. After the exhibition, the Kislak Center acquired the collection of Rose’s artist books at Churchman’s suggestion.

Since 2009 Rose has been experimenting in his studio with how people visualize in two and three dimensional distorted visual fields. He has used pictures, primarily of the faces of fashion models, celebrities, and political figures. In collaborations with Rachel Cheetham-Richard, he furthered experimentation utilizing her photographs. A selection of his drawings and their collaborative work is currently on view in the Gramercy Bistro at MassMoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Artist Statement

I wish to make images that suggest unanticipated questions and that offer fresh visual ideas to those who look at my work.


The present is obsolete.


Amy Bachhuber,

Rachel Cheetham-Richard

Laurie Churchman,

Jeni Mattingly

Rick Wright,