Lucas Samaras (born September 14, 1936) is an artist who was born in Kastoria, Greece. He studied at Rutgers University on a scholarship, where he met Allan Kaprow and George Segal. He participated in Kaprow's "Happenings," and posed for Segal's plaster sculptures. Claes Oldenburg, in whose Happenings he also participated, later referred to Samaras as one of the "New Jersey school," which also included Kaprow, Segal, George Brecht, Robert Whitman, Robert Watts, Geoffrey Hendricks and Roy Lichtenstein. Samaras previously worked in painting, sculpture, and performance art, before beginning work in photography. He subsequently constructed room environments that contained elements from his own personal history. His "Auto-Interviews" were a series of text works that were "self-investigatory" interviews. The primary subject of his photographic work is his own self-image, generally distorted and mutilated. He has worked with multi-media collages, and by manipulating the wet dyes in Polaroid photographic film to create what he calls "Photo-Transformations".
Works by Samaras are included in the collections of numerous public art institutions, including Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House (formerly The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu), the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Fort Worth, Texas), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington D.C.), the Tate Gallery (London), the Walker Art Center (Minnesota), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City), and the National Gallery (Athens).
Lucas Samaras represented Greece at the 53rd International Art Exhibition, The Venice Biennale (June 7- November 22, 2009) with the multi-installation "PARAXENA" in the Greek Pavilion in the Giardini.
Samaras has been the subject of several portraits by Chuck Close, in media including painting, daguerreotype, and tapestry.
The Catalogue Raisonné of his works is being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute.
Lucas Samaras is represented by The Pace Gallery in New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery in London