The studio of artists Doug and Mike Starn is a testament to the brothers’ shared vision.
Growing up in New Jersey, Doug and Mike Starn would sit next to each other at their family’s table and do what kids do around the world: create art. In their case, the identical twins worked in far-reaching coordination.
Twins and coworkers, Doug and Mike Starn have a miscellaneous abstract practice that spontaneously blends photography, printmaking, carving, and architectural installation. Well-known for their continuing “Big Bambú” series (2008–)—a gigantic, performative installation made from smashed together bamboo—they have interfered both on the top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the 54th Venice Biennale.
The brothers have also taken bamboo wastes from their installation and re-imagined them as unattached sculpture. Their abstract photography practice integrates a diversity of deconstructive skills such as décollage, annexation and reinterpretation of art historical work, and original bordering strategies.
Their rooftop installation, Big Bambú: You Can’t, You Don’t, and You Won’t Stop, a jungle-gym-like structure containing 6,800 bamboo poles, remains one of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most trendy expositions ever, with 630,000 visitors and at least six marriage proposals stated over six months.
For the past eight years, the brothers have worked side by side—powering each other’s thoughts, concluding each other’s sentences—in a past factory in Beacon, New York.
The original Big Bambú lives here, decorated with a bamboo sailboat. The room-size figurine, inset with a laced stairway leading to the second-story gallery and a third-story office, continues to swing thru the ground floor thanks to local rock climbers who extract and reattach poles using painted rope while 128 webcams capture the meticulous evolution. “Our vision is that nothing in the world is uniform, nothing is one thing—everything is interconnected,” Mike explains.