John Cohen
Born 1932, NYC
resident of Putnam Valley, New York since 1965

BFA 1955 Yale School of Fine Arts
MFA 1957 Yale School of Fine Arts
Studied painting with Josef Albers, photography with Herbert Matter
Film assistant to Robert Frank (Pull My Daisy, The Sin of Jesu)
Music consultant to T-Bone Burnett for the film “Cold Mountain,” directed by Anthony Minghella



There Is No Eye: John Cohen Photographs
powerHouse Books, NY 2001

one man shows:

“There is No Eye” traveling photo exhibit:

IceBox Gallery, Minneapolis, MN 2006
Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, PA 2006
Mizel Center, Denver, CO 2005
Neuberger Museum, Purchase College SUNY 2004
Hampshire College, Amherst, MA 2004
Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, TN 2004
Daytona Beach Center for Photography. Daytona Beach, FL 2003
Witherspoon Museum, Greensboro, NC 2003
Santa Fe College, photo gallery, NM 2003
Chicago Cultural Center, 2003
Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA 2002

Nacional Museo de Arte, Lima, Peru 1992
Side Gallery, Newcastle, England 1981
Photographers Gallery, Wales 1980
Neuberger Museum, SUNY Purchase 1977
Rhode Island School of Design Museum 1970
Image Gallery NY 1960
American Institute of Graphic Artists 1959
Yale University Art Museum 1958
Limelight Gallery NY 1957

group shows:

Metropolitan Museum, NY
“Open Society” Soros Foundation, NY, Moving Walls
“Bob Dylan’s American Adventure”, Experience Music Project , Seattle, WA.
Morgan Library NYC,
Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
Eye Studio, NYC
Metropolitan Museum of Art "Recent Acquisitions: A Decade of Collecting" 2001
Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco, "Insiders: Intimate Images" 1999
Photo Eye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, "This World, Another World" 1998
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, "Keeping Time: the Music Photographs of John Cohen & Milt Hinton" 1997
Photographic Resource Center, Boston, "Extended Play" 1997
Brooklyn Museum, "A Spiritual Journey", photography in Latin America 1997
Queens College, NYC, "Andean Light" 1996
Whitney Museum of American Art, "Beat Culture and the New America, 1950-1965" 1995
New York University Gallery, "Beat Generation" 1994
292 Gallery, NY, "The Sixties" 1994
National Portrait Gallery, "Rebels, Poets & Artists of the 1950s"
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, "Spirit of the New Landscape" 1978
Visual Arts Gallery, NY (with Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, Ernst Haas, Art Kane, Saul Leiter, Jay Maisel and Gorden Parks) 1963
Image Gallery, NY 1961

photographs in the collection of:

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Brooklyn Museum
Museum of Modern Art
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Side gallery, Newcastle, England
Rhode Island School of Design
Neuberger Museum
New York Public Library
National Portrait Gallery
Corcoran Gallery of Art

photographs published in:

Rolling Stone, Book of the Beat 1999
Creative Camera (England) (portfolio 1973)
Library of Congress Folklife Annual (portfolio)
Aperture magazine (portfolio 1972)

Vanity Fair, Life, Time, Fortune, Esquire, NY Times Magazine, Seventeen, Harper's Bazaar, Popular Photography, US Camera Annual, Natural History Magazine, Interview, Rolling Stone

"Beat Culture & the New America" (Whitney Museum catalog)
"Moving Out" (National Gallery of Art- catalog of Robert Frank retrospective)
"Naked Lens: Beat Cinema" (cover) Creation Pub.
"Jack Kerouac: Angleheaded Hipster" S. Turner, Bloomsbury
"Blam! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism & Performance 1958-1964" Whitney Museum of Art
"Red Grooms" catalog, Abbeville
"Alice Neel" catalog, Philadelphia Museum of Art
"The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints," Acton, Worcester Museum


Produced, compiled and annotated "There Is No Eye: Music For Photographs"
Smithsonian Folkways 2001

Started the New Lost City Ramblers with Mike Seeger & Tom Paley 1958
(Tracy Schwarz replaced Paley in 1962)

Recorded and performed with the New Lost City Ramblers:

Recordings of Traditional Musicians
 “If I Had My Way” Rev. Gary Davis (1953 home recordings), Smithsonian Folkways
 “An untamed sense of control” Roscoe Holcomb, Smithsonian Folkways
“Back Roads To Cold Mountain” music related to the film & book, Smithsonian Folkways
“Dark Holler” Dillard Chandler, Old Love Songs & Ballads from NC, Smithsonian Folkways
“The  Lost Recordings of Banjo Bill Cornett” Field Recorder’s Collective
“Hobart Smith” edited &  annotated for Alan Lomax Collection, Rounder
“Texas Gladden” edited &  annotated for Alan Lomax Collection, Rounder

Smithsonian Folkways
The New Lost City Ramblers: The Early Years, 1958-1962. SF 40036
The New Lost City Ramblers: Volume II, 1963-1973, Out Standing in Their Field. SF 40040
There Ain't No Way Out (1997). SF 40098. Grammy Nominee

New Lost City Ramblers (1958) FA 2396
New Lost City Ramblers, Volume 2 (1959) FA 2397
New Lost City Ramblers, Volume 3 (1961) FA 2398
New Lost City Ramblers, Volume 4 (1961) FA 2399
New Lost City Ramblers, Volume 5 (1962, released 1963) FA 2395
Old Timey Songs for Children (1959, originally a 10" disc) FC 7064
Songs from the Depression (1959) FH 5264
Tom Paley, John Cohen and Mike Seeger Sing Songs of the New Lost City Ramblers (1961) FA 2494
American Moonshine and Prohibition (1962) FH 5263
Gone to the Country (1963) FA 2491
String Band Instrumentals (1964) FA 2492
Rural Delivery Number One (1965) FA 2496
Remembrance of Things to Come (1966) FTS 31035
Modern Times (1968) FTS 31027
Cousin Emmy with the New Lost City Ramblers (1968) FTS 31015
On the Great Divide (1973) FTS 31041
The New Lost City Ramblers (1961, a 7" disc) EPC 602
Earth is Earth (1961, a 7"disc) FF 869
Radio Special #1 (1963, a 7" disc) EPC 603

Flying Fish
20 years - Concert Performances (1978, 2 LP set)*
20th Anniversary Concert, with Elizabeth Cotten, Highwoods String Band, Pete Seeger & the Green Grass Cloggers. (1978). Grammy Nominee

The New Lost City Ramblers & Friends (1963-5, released 1994) with Cousin Emmy, Maybelle Carter, Eck Robertson, Roscoe Holcomb, Dock Boggs and Sam & Kirk McGee.

NLCR nominated twice for Grammy Award
Concerts include Carnegie Hall, Newport Folk Festivals, Univ. Chicago Folk Festivals, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, UCLA Folk Festival, tours of Europe, England, Australia, Japan

Founded The Friends Of Old Time Music with Ralph Rinzler & Israel Young 1961

Joint recording & photograph project with Mike Seeger 1961

Solo album:
Stories The Crow Told Me, Acoustic Disc 1999

Field recordings:
Recorded 11 albums of traditional music for Folkways, Arhoolie & Rounder including:
Mountain Music of Kentucky
Roscoe Holcomb: The High Lonesome Sound
High Atmosphere
Old Love Songs and Ballads
Dillard Chandler
When Kentucky Had No Union Men
Mountain Music of Peru (Vol 1 & 2)
Huayno Music of Peru (3 CDs Arhoolie)

He has served as advisor / consultant to various film projects, including American Roots Music (PBS) 2001, Exploring the World of Music (Annenberg/PBS) 1997 (Pacific Street Films).

His recording of a Peruvian girl is included on Voyager Spacecraft "Music of the Earth"


producer, director, camera and editor:
The High Lonesome Sound, 1963
The End Of An Old Song, 1970
Fifty Miles From Times Square, 1973
Musical Holdouts, 1975
Qeros: The Shape Of Survival, 1979
Peruvian Weaving: A Continuous Warp, 1980
Sara & Maybelle: The Carter Family, 1981
Post Industrial Fiddle, 1982
Gypsies Sing Long Ballads, 1982
The Ballad And The Source, 1983
Mountain Music Of Peru, 1984
Choqela: Only Interpretation, 1986
Pericles In America, 1988
Carnival In Qeros,1990
Dancing With The Incas, 1991

film awards and screenings
15 films shown at Anthology Film Archives, NYC Aug 2004 / Folk film Festival
Films shown at ten exhibitions of “There Is No Eye”
Footage of Sara Carter shown on PBS “American Experience”
“High Lonesome Sound” & “Carter Family” footage in BBC country  music series
Environmental Film Festival, Washington DC
“Full Frame” documentay film festival, Durham, NC
Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, 2004
Latin American Studies, Anthropology, Duke University 2004
Mars Hill College, NC 2004
Swannanoah Gathering, Warren Wilson College, Ashville, NC
Reina Sophia Museum, Madrid, Spain 2006
PBS Nova
BBC Rhythms of the World
Margaret Mead Film Festival
San Francisco Film Festival award
Native American Film Festival (NYC)
San Antonio Film Festival, prize
VITAS Festival UCLA, first prize
Bilan Ethnographic Film Festival, Paris, first prize ethnomusicology film
London Film Festival
Nyon International Film Festival (Switzerland)
Festival dei Popoli (Florence)
National Educational Film Festival
Chicago Latino Film Festival
Latin American Film Festivals, Pueblos Indiginas in Mexico and Peru
Museum of Modern Art
Whitney Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
National Gallery, Washington DC
Anthology Film Archive, NYC
American Museum of the Moving Image

retrospective film showings
Rhode Island School of Design
National Film Theater, London
The Collective for Living Cinema, NYC
Ethnomusicology Film Festival, Indiana University
The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

filmmaking grants
John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship
Fulbright Fellowship
National Endowment for the Arts Fellow (Media, Folk Arts)
New York State Council for the Arts
American Film Institute, Independent Filmmakers Award
US/UK Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship
Ford Foundation (Peru)
Laura Boulton Foundation for Ethnomusicology
NY Council for the Humanities
NYSCA Folk Arts

film clips
Josef & Anni Albers Foundation acquires JC film footage of “Albers at Yale” (1955)
Martin Scorcese uses JC film of “Bob Dylan Rooftop footage” (1962) for PBS show


interviewed on film
American Roots Music, Jim Brown, PBS
Bob Dylan biography, “No Direction Home”  Martin Scorcese, PBS
Harry Smith biography, Rani Singh, Getty Museum
Remembering High Lonesome, Tom Davenport, Folkstreams
Madison County Project, UNC folklore
Pete Seeger biography, Jim Brown
Josef Albers, Sadat Pakay, Albers Foundation
Bruce Molsky film “Rambling Rounder” by Paul Fox
Friends of Old Time Music, Citylore, P. Siegel, Steve Zeitlin
New Lost City Ramblers “Gone to the Country” Adam Brown &  Brendan Choineau, NYU Film Dept.

interviewed in books
“Documenting Ourselves” by Sharon Sherman (Univ. Ky) interviews with filmmakers focusing on folklore, folkmusic, and ethnomusicology


New Lost City Ramblers performed at Shaw Theater, London, 2003
Old Time & Bluegrass Festival, Santa Fe NM 2003
Kennedy Center, Washington DC 2006
Town Hall, NYC, Friends of Old Time Music 2006
Vancouver Folk Festival 2006
Berkeley Old Time Music Convention 2006
Skaneatales Chamber Music Festival NY 2007
San Francisco “Hardly, Scarcely Bluegrass Festival” 2007

New Lost City Ramblers: lifetime achievement award, The Folk Alliance, San Diego CA

Velocity Ramblers
Bowery Poetry Club, Banjo Jim’s
Tompkins Corners Methodist Church
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Played on Patti Smith’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

J. Cohen & Judy Collins, guests on “E-Town radio,” Boulder, CO 2005

Pinewoods Eistedford, NYC 2006


"Out Of Hand: drawings by John Cohen" exhibition, Visual Arts Gallery, Purchase College, SUNY 2000
Judson Gallery (group show) NYC 1958
In The Art of Drawing by Bernard Chaet, Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1970, 1978, 1983
Illustrated the book American Skyline by Christopher Tunnard and Henry Hope Reed, Houghton Mifflen, 1953


"The New Lost City Ramblers Song Book" with Mike Seeger, Oak Pub. 1964
"Film/Music/Anthropology" in American Federation of Arts 1987
"Among the Q'eros, notes of a filmmaker" in Library of Congress Folklife Annual 1986
"Musical Documents" in Visual Anthropology Journal 1990
"Q'eros: a study in Survival," Natural History Magazine 1958
" Q'ero" in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music 1998
"Naming The High Lonesome Sound" in Bluegrass Unlimited
"Overview" and "New York Scene" in "Wasn't That A Time: firsthand accounts of the Folksong Revival" Scarecrow Press 1995
"A Visitor's Recollections" in Long Journey Home-Folklife In The South, Southern Exposure, Chapel Hill 1977
"Sing Out!" Magazine & "The Old Time Herald" interviews with: Bob Dylan, Harry Smith, Roscoe Holcomb, Dillard Chandler, Roger McGuinn, John Hartford, Pat Conte

record notes/essays
"Hobart Smith" and "Texas Gladden" record notes for Alan Lomax portrait series, Rounder, 2001
"Mountain Music of Kentucky"
"Mountain Music of Peru"
"Roscoe Holcomb - The High Lonesome Sound"
"The Old Time Banjo Project"
"The Old Time String Band project"
NLCR records
"Shady Grove" Jerry Garcia & David Grisman , Acoustic Disc AD

quoted in books & articles
in "Documenting Ourselves: film, video, and culture" by Sharon R. Sherman, Univ Press of Kentucky, 1998
in "Forty Years of the New Lost City Ramblers" by Philip Gura, Southern Cultures, Univ North Carolina Press, 2000
in "When We Were Good" by Robert Cantwell, Harvard Univ. Press
in "Making People's Music" by Peter Goldsmith, Smithsonian Press
in "Invisible Republic - Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes" by Greil Marcus, Holt
in " The Roots of Rock" by David Gates, Newsweek Magazine
in "Down The Highway: the Life of Bob Dylan"by H. Sounes, Doubleday
in "Murmers of Earth-the Voyager Interstellar Record" by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan etc. Ballentine

conferences/ papers/ presentations
Harry Smith Conference. Smithsonian Institution
Northeastern Conference on Andean archaeology & ethnohistory
Wesleyan University Dept of Ethnomusicology
Dartmouth College, Music & folklore classes
Amherst College, Anthropology Dept.
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Indiana University, Conference on the Folksong Revival (keynote address)

Silvermine College of Art (Conn) 1968-71
Skidmore College 'Six-Summer in Experiment'
Cooper Union School of Architecture (drawing)
Rhode Island School of Design (visiting critic in Graphic Design)
Yale University School of Architecture (visiting critic in drawing)
Purchase College, State University of New York, Professor of Visual Arts 1972-1997
Area head, Photography. Also taught drawing, history of photography, photography & sociology, Film/Music/Anthropology

Lehman Brady Professor at Center for Documentary Studies, Duke Univ. Durham NC,  and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  2004
Mars Hill College, Madison County NC: concert, films, panel “A weekend with John Cohen: Dillard Chandler revisited” 2004
Gettysburg College, Pa.  “Latin American Studies” 2007
Artist in Residence at Hampshire College, MA, films, music, photo exhibit, & concert, 2004
Yale University Summer Institute “Peruvian textiles & music” 2005
Appalachian State, Boone NC 2005
Brooklyn College, Institute for Studies in American Music, “Searching for the folk” 2005
California College for the Arts, photography & film presentation 2006
Rhode Island School of Design, Museum photography lecture 2007

conference presentations
American Folklore Society session on  “The High Lonesome Sound,” Rochester NY  2002
“Bob Dylan’s American Adventure,”  the Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA
“Bob Dylan’s American Adventure,” Wiseman Museum, Minneapolis
Beat Generation Conference 2004, Wilson library, UNC