July 14, 2008

Elizabeth Peyton's status update

Elizabeth Peyton's paintings, based on photographs, can be read in chapters, each of which feature portraits of friends, family, personal heroes, and, of course, fleeting passions. In October, The New Museum is presenting Peyton's first big museum survey, "Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton," which will feature over 100 pieces made over the last fifteen years. The show then travels to "the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London; and the Bonnefantenmuseum, in Maastricht , The Netherlands. Meanwhile, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, which awarded the Connecticut-born artist the $50,000 Larry Aldrich Award in 2006, has mounted an exhibition of Peyton's photographs this summer. After seeing the show, an unimpressed Karen Rosenberg reports in the NY Times that Ms. Peyton photographs with the acquisitive determination of someone amassing Facebook friends. "The lines of her social network can be traced to her galleries: Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York and Sadie Coles HQ in London. Here are Gavin Brown and Rirkrit Tiravanija; there’s Rirkrit again, with Olafur Eliasson; and that’s Urs Fischer; and Franz Ackermann. This mix of artists and dealers (most of them are not exactly household names) is enhanced by the occasional celebrity: Marc Jacobs, ChloĆ« Sevigny. (Ms. Peyton’s shots sometimes bring to mind the studied insouciance of Mr. Jacobs’s advertising campaign photographed by Juergen Teller.) Again and again her camera seeks out pale young men with mussed hair.... 'Portrait of an Artist' extends the promise of a less fussy, more authentic Peyton, but it certainly doesn’t strip her paintings of their mysterious aura. Admirers will be left wondering how Ms. Peyton’s brushwork converts her awkward photographs into graceful, intuitive portraits."

Elizabeth Peyton: Portrait of an Artist," Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. Through Nov. 16.

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"Elizabeth Peyton can really paint"

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