11 April–20 June 2015
Between Bridges is proud to present the first European solo exhibition of Greer Lankton’s work. The show is a continuation of her recent retrospective, Love Me, at Participant Inc, NYC, organized in cooperation with the Greer Lankton Archives Museum (G.L.A.M.). The original exhibition showed numerous of Lankton’s legendary dolls, photographs, and works on paper from various collections across the United States—and calls for an afterlife. A broad selection of those works will be on display in the rooms at Between Bridges, which in 2006 made its inaugural exhibition of showing the work of David Wojnarowicz, a long time friend and collaborator of Lankton.
During her lifetime, Lankton exhibited at Civilian Warfare, Gracie Mansion, the 1995 Whitney Biennial and Venice Biennale, and is fondly remembered by many for her displays in the windows of the East 7th Street boutique, Einsteins. Lankton remains an important figure in the history of the East Village art scene of the eighties and early nineties, best known for her meticulously constructed and, in many instances, constantly evolving doll sculptures. Often discussed in terms of their autobiographical nature, her figures reflect a lifelong obsession with her own body and the simultaneous glamour and gravity she embodied as a transgendered artist living within the culture of the East Village of that period.
Greer Lankton is an artist’s artist. This is evidenced by the sheer number of artists who collaborated with her and considered her a muse, including Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, David Wojnarowicz, David Armstrong, among others. Her influence can be felt in the work of her contemporaries, but Lankton’s work is unlike anything else. She was ahead of her time, or, more specifically, outside of time. She methodically created her own world, whose occupants were like herself—transgendered and powerful women, extremely fat or extremely thin, circus people and icons—those who manifest the outer edges of the social order. She was a fearless artist, and her life as a gender innovator informs all of her work, making her an important forebear to those who have now become more visible in contemporary art and the culture at large.
Like so many artists of her generation, Greer Lankton died young. Although she was recognized as a part of this scene, her work does not neatly fit in with the prevailing image of the East Village art of the 1980s— privileging an aggressive aesthetic in painting and sculpture, easily marketed as a direct product of generational lifestyle. Lankton was a transgendered woman, whose work was, in many ways, considered ‘craft’ because she chose to make ‘dolls;’ still a difficult category to be properly inscribed into official art histories. Lankton’s resurgence now poses not only a correction to an incomplete art historical canon, but also testament to the work’s ability to resonate beyond her immediate context, crossing intergenerational lines and constituencies spanning art, fashion, and gender politics. Her poignant, intricate sculptures, flooded with autobiographical detail, prove even more affecting today.
There are numerous private collections and institutions participating in this exhibition, including Greer Lankton Archives Museum (G.L.A.M.); The Estate of David Wojnarowicz, P.P.O.W.; David Wojnarowicz Papers, Redtape Archive, and Nick Zedd Papers, Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU; Jean Foos, Keith Davis Estate; Robert Appleton; Keith Edmier; Douglas Ferguson; Nan Goldin; Lynn Hamilton; Jay Johnson and Tom Cashin; John Kelly; Gracie Mansion; Beau Rutland; Meg and Rachel Siegel; Linda Simpson; Geoff Spear; Tabboo! (Stephen Tashjian); Sikkema Jenkins & Co. und Sunny Suits.
Greer Lankton (1958-1996) was born in Flint, Michigan. Lankton attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to study Fabrics (1975-1978) and received her B.F.A. from Pratt Institute for Sculpture (1978-1981). Upon graduating in 1981, Lankton was included in New York/New Wave exhibition at MoMA PS1 curated by Diego Cortez. Lankton exhibited at Civilian Warfare from 1983-1985 where she had three major solo exhibitions, as well as four group exhibitions. From 1986-1990 Lankton exhibited her work at the East Village boutique, Einsteins, where she staged multiple presentations of her sculptures. Among Lankton’s many national and international group exhibitions, she was included in The Crucifix Show at Barbara Gladstone, New York (1982); a group exhibition at Anderson Theater Gallery, New York (1983); Limbo at PS1, New York (1984); Portrait Show and a collaboration with David Wojnarowicz at Gracie Mansion, New York (1984); Am. Sculpture at Anna Friebe Galerie, Cologne (1984); Inside the East Village at Galerie Andre Emmerich, Zurich (1984); Three Person Show at T. Greathouse Gallery, featuring a Wojnarowicz and Marion S. collaboration, New York (1985); 57th Street between A & D at Holly Solomon, New York (1985); Nude, Naked, Stripped at Albert & Vera List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (1985), The Figure as an Image of the Psyche at Sculpture Center (1985), Painting and Sculpture Today at Indianapolis Museum of Art (1986), Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing, curated by Nan Goldin at Artists Space (1989), as well as her presentation of Mannequins of Diana Vreeland and Anna Wintour at Barneys, New York (1990). In 1992, Lankton participated in a group show, The Sexual Self at Tanja Grunert, Cologne and was included in the 1994 exhibition, Real Sex at Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg. In 1995, Klaus Kertess invited Lankton to exhibit at the Whitney Biennial, followed by her inclusion in the Venice Biennale, curated by Jean Clair. Lankton completed It’s all about ME, Not You, now a permanent installation at The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA, prior to her death in 1996. Since that time, her work has been included in the group exhibition East Village USA at the New Museum (2004-2005), and more recently in Ecce Homo at Pavel Zoubok Gallery (2013). In 2011, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles presented Greer Lankton: You Can’t Throw it Away, the first retrospective of her artwork, organized by Paul Monroe and G.L.A.M. Lankton is currently included in Matthew Marks Gallery’s A Drawing Show, on view through November 29, 2014.
Included in many publications, Lankton was the centerfold as DeeDeeLux for Nick Zedd’s film, Bogus Man, published in the East Village Eye in the Spring of 1980. Carlo McCormick reviewed her work for the 1984 Civilian Warfare, Fit to be Tied, exhibition in N.Y. Beat and interviewed Lankton for the East Village Eye later that year. Other 1984 features include Gary Indiana’s Art in America piece, “Greer Lankton;” an Arts Magazine review by Holland Cotter; a spread in Italian Vogue; and the inclusion of her doll sculptures in Redtape Magazine #3. Later notable highlights and writings on Lankton include the 1985 I-D Magazine Interview by Dylan Jones; Vivian Raynor’s review of 1985 Bond Gallery group show, Stigmata; Cookie Mueller’s August 1985 “Art and About” column in Details and Saturday Review of Literature article, “New York City’s 6 Best, Most Undiscovered Artists,” (July/August 1985); Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ Vogue photo shoot, “The New Irascibles” (November 1985); a photo feature by Daryl-Ann Saunders in Ear Magazine (June 1986); The Detroit News review of the 1989 Artists Space exhibition, “Witness: Against Our Vanishing,” (November 30, 1989); as well as photos and writings on Lankton’s dolls of Anna Wintour and Diana Vreeland in the NY Times article, “Night of 100 Trees” (December 10, 1989), New York Magazine (March 9, 1990) and People (April 1992). Lankton was included in the publication, Real Sex, Real Real, Real AIDS, Real Text on the occasion of the 1994 Salzburger Kunstverein exhibition, Real Sex.
Press on the exhibition:
Laura Allsop, The Radical Life & Work of Genderqueer Artist Greer Lankton, AnOther Magazine (A/W 2015) (EN)
Sonja Eismann, Sexy Greisinnen, die nicht essen wollen, warten glücklich auf den Tod, jungle.world, 4. Juni 2015 (DE)
Travis Jeppesen: Critic’s picks, artforum.com, May 2015 (EN)
Brigitte Werneburg: Exzentrik ist wunderbar, taz, 17 April 2015 (DE)