Listening to Richard Chartier’s work is like sitting in a room at dusk while the light fades. As colours and detail drain away the eye seeks to compensate, peering eagerly at the slowly disappearing surroundings. The fade-out provokes both ambition and anxiety in the perceiver, and the awareness of seeing and not-seeing becomes as important as the objects of perception. Chartier’s work plays a similar double game of seduction and evasion with the ear.

– Will Montgomery
“On the surface of silence: reticence in the music of Richard Chartier”
(Sound 323, UK)

[With] a hushed aesthetic that shelters a powerful compositional vision. Even when pitched at the fringes of audibility, Chartier’s sounds have an extraordinarily seductive quality.

(The Wire, UK)


Richard Chartier (American, b.1971) is a Los Angeles based artist and is considered one of the key figures in the current of reductionist sound known as both “microsound” and Neo-Modernist. Chartier’s minimalist digital work explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception and the act of listening itself. 

Chartier’s critically acclaimed sound works have been published since 1998 on a variety of labels internationally. He has collaborated with noted composer William Basinski, sound artists ELEH, CoH, Robert Curgenven, Taylor Deupree, AGF, Yann Novak, and German electronic music pioneer Asmus Tietchens. In installation form he has created works with multimedia artists Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, visual artist Linn Meyers, and projected light artist Anthony McCall.

Chartier’s sound works and installations continue to be exhibited internationally. His work has been exhibited in the 2002 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art (US), Sounding Spaces at NTT/ICC (Japan), I Moderni / The Moderns at Castello di Rivoli (Italy), Resynthesis at The Art Institute of Chicago and with the traveling sound exhibit Invisible Cities. His solo and collaborative installations have been shown at the Art Gallery of University of Maryland (US), Media Lab Enschede (Netherlands), Montalvo Arts Center (US), G Fine Art (US), Die Schachtel (Italy), The Contemporary Museum of Baltimore (US), Fusebox (US), and Diapason (US).

Chartier continues to perform his work live thoughout Europe, Japan, Australia, and North America. He has performed at noted art spaces/electronic music festivals including:  MUTEK (Canada), GRM/Maison de Radio France (France), EMPAC (US), Musiktriennale Koeln (Germany), Observatori (Spain), DEAF (Ireland), Transmediale (Germany), NETMAGE (Italy), Lovebytes (UK), The Leeds International Film Festival (UK), The Rotterdam International Film Festival (Netherlands), REDCAT (US), and La Batie (Switzerland) and at art museums including: ICA (UK), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (DC), ICC (Japan), CAPC Musée D’Art Contemporain De Bordeaux (France), Musee d’Art Contemporain (Canada), Schirn Kunsthalle (Germany), The Contemporary Art Centre (Lithuania), Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (US), and Sculpture Center (NY).

Since 2000, Chartier has curated his influential recording label LINE, publishing over 90 CD/DVD/digital editions documenting the compositional and installation work of international sound artists exploring the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism. Chartier’s Series, the premiere release on LINE, was awarded an Honorable Mention for Digital Music by Austria’s prestigious Prix Ars Electronica in 2001.

In 2006, Chartier was invited by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to create a sound work in conjunction with the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibit. Specification.Fifteen, composed and performed with Taylor Deupree, is inspired by Sugimoto’s Seascape series and released on Chartier’s LINE label. This work was awarded Honorable Mention for Outstanding Contemporary Artistic Positions in Digital Media Art by the Jury of Transmediale.07 Award (Germany). A new version of Specification.Fifteen, with a slowly shifting video work incorporating Sugimoto’s Seascapes, premiered at Berlin’s Akademie der Kuenste (Germany) in 2007 and subsequently presented at Issue Project Room (NY) and Torun’s Center for Contemporary Art (Poland).

In 2007, Chartier was invited by the Washington Project for the Arts, to curate two evenings of video and sound at the Corcoran Gallery of Art as well as month long screenings at G Fine Art (US) and Ellipse Art Center (US). This program, titled ColorField REMIX, assembled an array of internationally noted new media artists responding to the mid-2oth century Color Field movement and the Washington Color School, as part of a city wide celebration of these historical art movements. As an expanded program retitled Colorfield Variations, it continues to travel to digital art/film festivals and museums in Berlin and Köln (DE), London (UK), Belgrade (Serbia), Prague (CZ), Stuttgart (DE), Seville (ES), Torun (Poland), Brussels (BE), Tel Aviv (Israel), New York, and Seattle (US), as well as at The Hammer Museum (US). In 2009, this project, including exclusive new works, was released as a critically acclaimed DVD edition on LINE.

In 2010, Chartier was awarded a Smithsonian Institution Artist Research Fellowship to explore the National Museum of American History’s collection of 19th Century acoustic apparatus for scientific demonstration, with a focus on German physicist Rudolf Koenig’s unique Grand Tonometer (c. 1870-1875), a collection of 670 tuning forks. Some of these recordings were showcased as Transparency, a performance at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

In 2011, Chartier curated and designed the new media exhibit Data/Fields at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia presenting installations by five noted international artists: Ryoji Ikeda, Mark Fell, Andy Graydon, France Jobin, and Caleb Coppock. The Washington Post described the exhibit as ““a sharply installed and smartly edited mini-survey of cutting-edge contemporary art… the works in “Data/Fields” sharpen your senses, even as they blur the boundary between sight and sound.”



FELLOWSHIP . Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship [ Washington, DC ] 2010
RESIDENCY . Music Research Centre, York University [ York, UK ] April 2004


Absence for Kraft Prize for New Media / WPA [ Washington, DC ] nomination
Transmediale 2007 [ Berlin, Germany ] Honorable Mention for Specification.Fifteen
Series Honorary Mention, Digital Music / PRIX ARS ELECTRONICA 2001 [ Linz, Austria]
James Madison University Art Achievement Award 1993
James Madison University Best Studio Artist Award 1989-1993


Bachelor of Fine Arts Cum Laude
Concentration in Graphic Design and Painting
James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) 1993