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Ellen Sandor
* 1942

Archive of Digital Art (ADA). “Ellen Sandor – artist profile”. (retrieved 2023-04-03). @online{ADAartistprofile, author = {Archive of Digital Art (ADA)}, title = {Ellen Sandor artist profile}, url = {}, urldate = {retrieved 2023-04-03}
Ellen Sandor is a new media artist, and Founder/Director of the collaborative artists’ group, (art)n. In 1975, she received an MFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her MFA studies at SAIC led her to explore the relationship between photography, sculpture, and video art, while being inspired by the spiritual nature of Outsider Art. In the early 1980s, Sandor had the unique vision to integrate these elements with nascent art forms including computer graphics, resulting in a new medium she called PHSColograms–3D barrier-screen computer-generated photographs and sculptures. Major themes (art)n has explored include breakthroughs in STEM and art, alongside visual history, art history and tolerance. The (art)n group primarily works with PHSColograms as immersive, backlit digital 3D photos, PHSCologram sculpture installations, and related VR experiences.

As PHSColograms and VR are collaborative endeavors, Sandor often works with kindred artists, scientists, technologists and thinkers, affiliated with distinguished institutions and universities including: Fermilab, Stevens Lab, Doudna Lab–University of California-Berkeley, Scripps Research Institute, NASA Ames, Langley and Lewis Research Centers, NASA JPL–California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois. Many collaborators share in her enthusiasm for experimenting with technology to push conceptual and aesthetic boundaries within the arts and sciences. Influential artists and innovators Sandor and (art)n have worked with include: Donna Cox, Martyl, Claudia Hart, Carla Gannis, Chris Landreth, Charles Csuri, Miroslaw Rogala, Dan Sandin, Tom DeFanti, Larry Smarr, Arthur J. Olson, and the late Ed Paschke, Karl Wirsum and Mr. Imagination. Sandor has also collaborated with trailblazing women scientists and technologists who are pathfinders for women in STEM, including Nobel Prize recipient Jennifer Doudna, Beth Stevens, Cynthia K. Thompson, Carolina Cruz-Neira, and others who have contributed to the ‘herstory’ of women in science. She has mentored women in new media to be fearless in their life's work and pursuing their dreams.

The works of Ellen Sandor and (art)n have been exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collection of The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, International Center of Photography, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, Fermilab, Smart Museum of Art–University of Chicago, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma, and private collections. Commissions include: The Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, The City of Chicago Public Art Program, State of Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program, and SmithBucklin Corporation.

Sandor co-invented U.S. and international patents awarded for the PHSCologram process. She co-authored published papers in Computers & Graphics, IEEE and SPIE. She is a recent Visiting Scholar of Culture & Society, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In 2014, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2016, she was awarded Fermilab's Artist in Residence. In 2017, she was honored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for her longstanding commitment to integrating art and science. She is co-editor and contributor of the herstory book: New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts, University of Illinois Press.

Sandor is additionally Chair of the Advisory Board of the Gene Siskel Film Center–School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Board Member, Governors for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Life Trustee Emeritus, The Art Institute of Chicago. She is Secretary of the Board of Eyebeam; Board Member, American Friends Musée d’Orsay et de L'Orangerie; and Board Member, Fred Jones Museum of Art–The University of Oklahoma. In 2012, she received the Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts through Lawyers for the Creative Arts. In 2013, she received the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award. She is also co-founder of the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection.

2017 - honored by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for her commitment to integrating art and science
2016 - Fermilab's artist in residence
2014 - Honorary doctorate in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)
2013 - the Gene Siskel Film Center Outstanding Leadership Award
2012 - Thomas R. Leavens Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts
2012 - ongoing Lifetime trustee of The Art Institute of Chicago
2007 - ongoing Board Member of Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
2003 - ongoing Chair of Gene Siskel Film Center
2001 - ongoing Board Member of The Art Institute of Chicago
1983 - Director of Art N Laboratory
1983 - ongoing President and founding artist of (art)n
1972 - 1975 MFA in sculpture from SAIC
1963 - B.A from Brooklyn College


CRISPR-Cas9: A Ray of Light presented at Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI)

The Digital PHSCologram Sculpture CRISPR-Cas9: A Ray of Light developed by Ellen Sandor, (art)n and multiple scientific collaborators was presented at the IGI Open House at UC Berkeley and donated to the institution. The piece presentation took place during the opening of the IGI Open House designed to introduce the public to the Institute's mission and research projects. The installation became an example of art and science collaboration as a means of communication and expression.


Celebrating Women in New Media Arts

One-day symposium Celebrating Women in New Media Arts as part of 150 Years of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago presented the new book »Women in New Media Arts: Perspectives on Innovative Collaboration«, edited by Donna Cox, Janine Fron, and Ellen Sandor. The symposium provided deliberate context to discuss women achievements in media art and technological development from the 1980s till nowadays.

Exhibitions & Events
Exhibition :
Participating Artist
Exhibition :
Participating Artist
Publications & References
Cox, Donna J. and Ellen Sandor and Janine Fron. New Media Futures. The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts. Urbana, Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2018.
Fron, Janine and Ellen Sandor. »The Future of Video Games as an Art: On the Art of Playing with Shadows.« The University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center (2001).
Sandor, Ellen and Janine Fron and K Greiber and Fernando Orellana and Stephen Meyers and Dana M. Plepys and M. Dolinsky and M. Dastagir Ali. »Collaborative Visualization: New Advances in Documenting Virtual Reality with IGrams.« Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Information Visualization (July 1999).
Sandor, Ellen and Janine Fron. »The Art and Science of Collaborative Visualization.« Silicon Graphics World (September 1999).
Meyers, Stephan and Ellen Sandor and Janine Fron. »PHSColograms and Rotated PHSColograms.« Computers & Graphics 19, no. 4 (July/August 1995): 513-522.
Meyers, Stephan and Dan J. Sandin and W. T. Cunnaly and Ellen Sandor and T.A. DeFanti. »New advances in computer-generated barrier-strip autostereography.« Proceedings of the SPIE 1990 Symposium on Electronic Imaging, Stereoscopic Displays and Applications (February 1990).