Margaret Morton

Professor and Director of Off-Campus Programming

Margaret Morton's photographs of the dwellings that homeless individuals have assembled in public parks, vacant lots, along the waterfronts, beneath the streets, and in the abandoned buildings of New York City are combined with oral histories in Glass House, her book about thirty-five young squatters who set up a highly structured community in an abandoned glass factory; Fragile Dwelling (Aperture Foundation); The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City (Yale University Press and Schirmer/Mosel, Germany); and Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives (co-authored with Diana Balmori, Yale University Press). Morton is currently working on projects in Kyrgyzstan and Argentina.

Morton's projects have received numerous awards, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Graham Foundation, University of Central Asia, and the Harry Chapin Media Judges' Award from World Hunger Year.

Photographs from Morton’s projects have been exhibited in over twenty-five solo exhibitions and more than fifty group exhibitions in the past fifteen years, including the New Museum for Contemporary Art, Aperture Foundation’s Burden Gallery, Museum of the City of New York, New-York Historical Society, The Urban Center, Lowinsky Gallery, and Bodell Gallery in New York City; as well as the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Cranbrook Art Museum, and museums and galleries in Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, and Switzerland.

Professor Morton received a BFA from Kent State University and an MFA from Yale University. Morton joined the faculty at Cooper Union in 1980, where she teaches Photography and Art of the Book. Morton is a recipient of both the Menschel and Durbin faculty grants.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.