Pittsburgh Artist Registry

Diane Samuels

Diane Samuels

Artistic Category Artist
Career Level Professional
Experienced With Commissions, Public art

My current project (begun in 2010) is to make a library and archive of my own hand-transcriptions of literature and documents that are essential in my navigating the world.

In both my studio and public art practices, I use other peoples’ words and handwriting as my literal and figurative raw material.  I build works that accrete from community engagements, layer by layer:  layers made of words from interviews and informal conversations with people on the street, in cafes, in their homes; layers made of places from castings, drawings, photographs, audio, maps; and layers made from archival documents, narratives of events, histories, memoirs, folk tales, and literature.  I have made drawings by writing out the texts of entire novels in micro-handwriting, converted a two-story glass pedestrian bridge into an anthology of thousands of phrases about looking at the world closely, and created artist’s books from sessions transcribing storytellers.  I am also co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, which provides sanctuary to writers in exile. I work with http://pavelzoubok.com/ in NYC.


Diane Samuels’ permanent site-specific artworks include Luminous Manuscript (Center for Jewish History New York) and Lines of Sight (Brown University). Luminous Manuscript was awarded an IFRAA/Faith & Form Award for Religious Art and Architecture in 2005 and is included in Judith Dupré's 2007 (Random House) book, Monuments: America's History in Art and Memory. 

In 1998, she built a commissioned memorial garden in Grafeneck, Germany, site "A" of the so-called euthanasia experiments in 1940. In 2002, she completed a six-year project working with history and current issues in Buttenhausen, Germany, which culminated in performances, exhibitions, and a book documenting the project (Imprints and Artifacts/Prägungen und Werkstücke).

Her exhibitions include the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Mattress Factory Museum, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Center for Book Arts, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, the Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Synagogue Center (Trnava, Slovakia), the Bernheimer Realschule (Buttenhausen, Germany), and the Czech Museum of Fine Arts.

Her work is in public and private collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Bank of New York Mellon, Reed College, Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Carol and Arthur Goldberg Collection, the Evan Mirapaul collection, the Nancy and Woody Ostrow Collection.

Samuels holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University, a diploma from the Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University and has received honorary doctorates from Seton Hill University and Chatham University. She is co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, a board member of the Carnegie Museum of Art and the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, and is a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.  In 2013 she was recipient of a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency in Italy and an American Academy in Jerusalem Fellowship.


Pgh, Pennsylvania 15212
Download Resumé


  • Artist Books
  • Drawing
  • Installation
  • Public Art
  • Social Practice / Civic Engagement
  • Sound / Audio


  • Collage
  • Conceptual
  • Glass
  • Paper
  • Site specific