Nikki S. Lee was born in South Korea. She earned a B.F.A. from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993 and a M.A. in photography at New York University in 1998.
Lee has exhibited at major institutions throughout the United States and abroad, including solo exhibitions at GAK, Bremen, Germany; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. Her works are in the collections of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Hammer Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.