Born in Korea, Nikki S. Lee moved to New York City in 1994 to pursue a career in fashion photography. Since that time, she has essentially become a performance artist, a practice that is captured in photographs she has exhibited since the mid-1990s. In these series, the artist appears in the guises she assumes as she infiltrates and adopts the lifestyles of different types of people. A keen observer of codes of dress and behavior, Lee possesses an uncanny ability to capture the common state of mind and demeanor within a group. After selecting and studying a group, she enters it and assumes its lifestyle for days or even months at a time. In each case, the artist asks one of her “new friends” or a passing stranger to photograph her with a snapshot camera on the spot. Lee’s work is decidedly funny, telling, and poignant. She acts as an outsider who brings us “inside” worlds that we might otherwise never know. In other cases, she forces us to reexamine the worlds in which we live.
Label from Bad Habits, 2009