Biography

Cartography, methods of visualizing information, history, current events, satire and humor are some of the subjects 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 has made series about history and colonization in painting/collages on large roll-down school maps that explore imperialism by creating an atlas reconfiguring the world, about loss in history through erasure and overpainting maps, and that use maps as a space to visualize data about wars and conflicts. In 2005, he started American Icons, a series of portraits of political subjects that present a stinging and often humorous depiction of American 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); Making a New Whole: The Art of Collage, University of New England, Portland (2014); "Dissident Futures", Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013-14); and "Remix: Selections from the International College Center” (2010-14, travelled nationally). He has been speaker, panelist or interviewee at numerous institutions including the Chicago Cultural Center, Maine National Public Broadcasting Network, Minneapolis College of Art & Design, Portland Museum of Art, Public Radio International, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Vanderbilt University, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. His work has been featured in Flash Art International, Hyperallergic, and the Los Angeles Times. The book, "The US Future States Atlas, by Dan Mills” was published by Perceval Press, Santa Monica in 2009. His work is in collections including the British Library, Harvard University, Library of Congress, John T. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and Wesleyan University.

Born in upstate New York, his parents were E. Andrew and Virginia Ward Mills, painters who lived and worked 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. For fifteen years, Mills was an artist/curator in Chicago. In the mid-1990s, he left to direct academic museums and return to the Northeast. Mills and his wife, artist Gail Skudera, live and work in Lewiston, Maine, where he directs the Bates College Museum of Art.