Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton

Overview

American artist Elizabeth Peyton has been credited with breathing new life into the ancient art of portraiture. Her highly stylized, idealized oil paintings, drawings, and watercolors are driven by the emotional, adoring eye of an unrequited lover. Willowy, melancholy young men and women—contemporary pop stars, royalty, artists, and friends—are the magnetic subjects of her devotion. Caught as if in a state of ambiguous absorption and frozen at the height of their youth, they embody a new kind of portraiture that ...

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Overview

American artist Elizabeth Peyton has been credited with breathing new life into the ancient art of portraiture. Her highly stylized, idealized oil paintings, drawings, and watercolors are driven by the emotional, adoring eye of an unrequited lover. Willowy, melancholy young men and women—contemporary pop stars, royalty, artists, and friends—are the magnetic subjects of her devotion. Caught as if in a state of ambiguous absorption and frozen at the height of their youth, they embody a new kind of portraiture that confirms and updates the immortalizing aura of the traditional genre.

Peyton's melding of influences and obsessions ranges widely: from fandom and fashion illustration to academic anatomical studies; from David Hockney and Andy Warhol to a range of Mannerist and Old Master classics; from innocence to the world of bohemia, equally crediting photography and life drawing as its driving forces. Her enamored yet refreshingly informal light wash technique underscores her uniquely delicate, informed hybrid of high and low culture, a statement executed with infectious, seemingly effortless fluidity.

Published in conjunction with the artist's major solo exhibition at the New Museum in New York, which will travel to the Whitechapel in London, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Peyton (b. 1965) had her first solo exhibition in 1993 and has works in major art museum collections in the United States and Europe. This work, which accompanied an exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY, through mid-January, explores the range of Peyton's work, from oil and watercolor paintings to prints and drawings. Peyton uses thin washes of oil paint in bright colors to create a watercolorlike effect. Her art is unusually small in scale, reminiscent of Renaissance portraits by Holbein and Cranach (which is appropriate, since most of Peyton's works are portraits). The text begins with photographs related to Peyton's art, then continues with over 200 color plates of her work, each on its own page. Three essays follow, by Laura Hoptman (senior curator, New Museum), Iwona Blazwick (director, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London), and John Giorno (poet, artist, and AIDS activist). The book concludes with information about the illustrated work and a list of solo exhibitions and collections that own Peyton's work. Highly recommended for art and academic libraries.
—Martha Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714861203
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publication date: 5/4/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Hoptman is Kraus Family Senior Curator at the New Museum, where, in addition to curating 'Elizabeth Peyton,' she co-curated the exhibition 'Unmonumental' (2007). Previously she was the Curator of Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Contemporary Art, where she organized the 54th Carnegie International (2004-05).

Iwona Blazwick is Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. As Head of Exhibitions and Display at Tate Modern, London (1997-2001), and as an independent curator, she has realized many international exhibitions of contemporary and twentieth-century art and has published texts on numerous artists.

John Giorno is a poet, performance artist, and AIDS activist. He met Andy Warhol while working as a stockbroker in the early 1960s and subsequently became a prominent figure of the Factory and the subject of one of Warhol's best-known films, Sleep. Through his work, he has long been an advocate of collaboration, counting William Burroughs, Patti Smith, Philip Glass, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Mapplethorpe among his many associates.

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