Biography

Visualizing information, cartography, history, current events, satire and humor are some of the subjects and concepts that captivate Dan Mills. He began to incorporate maps into his work in the early 1990s while exploring the quincentennial of what is euphemistically referred to as The First Encounter. Since then, he explored history and colonization in painting/collages on large roll-down school maps, the loss of history through erasure and overpainting on maps, and has used maps as a space to visualize data about war, and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. His American Icons portraits present stinging and often humorous depictions of politicians.  

Mills has exhibited widely, with solo shows in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and at academic museums and galleries throughout the US. His work has been included in many group exhibitions including "Crooked Data: (Mis)Information in Contemporary Art", University of Richmond Museums (2017); "Ideologue", Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2016); and "Dissident Futures", Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013-14). He has been speaker, panelist or interviewee at institutions including the Chicago Cultural Center, Maine Public (NPR), Public Radio International, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and Vanderbilt University. His work has been featured in numerous publications including Flash Art International, Hyperallergic, Journal of Landscape Architecture, Los Angeles Times, and New Art Examiner. His book, "The US Future States Atlas” was published by Perceval Press, Santa Monica in 2009. His work is in numerous collections including the British Library, UCLA, Library of Congress, John T. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Swarthmore.

Born in New York State, his parents were artists E. Andrew and Virginia Ward Mills, who lived in Upstate New York and outer Cape Cod. Mills grew up in Schenectady. He earned a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and MFA from Northern Illinois University. After living and working as an artist/curator in Chicago for fifteen years, Mills returned to the Northeast to direct academic museums. He has studios in a mill building in southern Maine, and on outer Cape Cod. Mills and his wife, artist Gail Skudera, live in Lewiston, where he directs the Bates College Museum of Art.