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Tom Arndt

Bar scene, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1973

Born in Minneapolis in 1944, Tom Arndt’s photography belongs to the grand, classic tradition of American documentary photography. Arndt’s work includes sensitive, empathetic portrayals of everyday citizens, in their coffee shops and soda fountains, their streets, their shop windows, their parks, at popular state fairs. Pessimism and pity are out of place. As Arndt’s friend and well known writer Garrison Keillor points out, Tom Arndt photographs the DNA of our culture. A consistently resourceful street photographer, Arndt captures fleeting gestures and momentary juxtapositions between people and their surroundings, finding in them a sense of emotional or psychological depth.


Arndt received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (1968) and did graduate study at the University of Minnesota (1969-1971). His photographs have been exhibited at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Minneapolis Institute of Art; Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and other venues. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.