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Press ReleasesLive Forever: Elizabeth Peyton Offers Snapshot of Contemporary Popular Culture

Jewel-Like Portraits Depict Friends, Lovers, and Iconic Figures from the Worlds of Art, Fashion, Cinema, and Politics

For some 20 years, Elizabeth Peyton (b. 1965) has been painting “pictures of people”—friends, personal heroes, and iconic figures from popular culture and history. Her radically contemporary and surprisingly intimate subject matter put her at the vanguard of an early 1990s “return” to figurative painting. A brilliant colorist with a razor-sharp graphic sense, Peyton creates small, jewel-like portraits that celebrate the promise and pitfalls of youth, fame, and creative genius—a testament to her passion for beauty in all its forms.

Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton

, the first U.S. survey of the artist’s work, opens at the Walker Art Center Saturday, February 14. On view through June 14, the exhibition includes more than 100 paintings, drawings, and prints from Peyton’s earliest portraits of musicians such as Kurt Cobain, Liam Gallagher, and Jarvis Cocker to more recent images of friends and celebrities from the worlds of art, fashion, cinema, and politics, including Matthew Barney, Marc Jacobs, Al Gore, and Michelle Obama. Peyton’s body of work captures an artistic zeitgeist that reflects the cultural climate of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton is organized by the New Museum, New York. Related events include a Walker After Hours Preview Party on Friday, February 13, and an Opening-Day Talk by New Museum exhibition curator Laura Hoptman on Saturday, February 14. A complete listing of related programs follows.

Working from photographs, and more recently from live sittings, Peyton is among a small group of artists to develop a peculiar hybrid of realism and conceptualism. Although her paintings reference 19th-century modernist painting—from Eduard Manet to John Singer Sargent—Peyton processes these masters through an intimate understanding of 20th-century artists such as David Hockney, Alex Katz, and above all, Andy Warhol. Like Warhol, Peyton’s art is at the service of the culture it captures. Steeped in history, her work aspires to bridge the gap between art and life.

Art on Call Audio Guide

Load up your MP3 player or use your cell phone to hear about the portraits and personalities in the world of Elizabeth Peyton. To hear more, call 612.374.8200 in the galleries, or download Art on Call to your iPod before visiting newmedia.walkerart.org/aoc.


A 225-page exhibition catalogue co-published by the New Museum and Phaidon, Ltd. features 175 full-color illustrations and essays by Iwona Blazwick, critic, curator, and director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London; New York poet John Giorno; and Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator at the New Museum. Support for the publication is provided by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum. $59.95 ($53.96 Walker members).


Opening Weekend

Walker After Hours Preview Party

Friday, February 13, 9 pm–12 midnight, $35 ($25 Walker members)

Celebrate the opening of the exhibition with cocktails and complimentary Wolfgang Puck appetizers, karaoke by Arzu, tunes by DJ Jake Rudh, a screening of the film Kurt Cobain: About a Son, a portrait art-making activity with a forensic artist, and the ever-popular Party People Pictures.

New members receive one free party ticket (or other premiums) for joining. Call 612.375.7600 or visit walkerart.org/tickets.

Walker After Hours sponsored by Target.

Opening-Day Talk

Mack Lecture: End of the Century

Saturday, February 14, 2 pm, Free
Free tickets available at the Bazinet Garden Lobby desk from 1 pm

Spend an afternoon in the world of Elizabeth Peyton. For more than 20 years, the artist has created intimate paintings, prints, watercolors, and drawings that make up a snapshot of contemporary popular culture. Join New Museum exhibition curator Laura Hoptman for an illustrated, inside perspective on the 1990s art world that gave rise to Peyton’s career.

This program is made possible by generous support from Aaron and Carol Mack.

Target Free Thursday Nights

Thursday, February 26

Sound Bites: Contemporary Portraiture, 6:30 and 7 pm

Meet in Bazinet Lobby

Inspired by the exhibition, this talk offers insight into the contemporary artist’s approach to portraiture.

Thursday, March 12

Panel Discussion: Documenting Culture, 7 pm

Free tickets available at the Bazinet Garden Lobby desk from 6 pm

Peyton aims to capture people right on the verge of stardom, at “that particular moment when they’re about to become what they’ll become.” Is she giving us a glimpse of a world rarely seen by outsiders? Writer and longtime music critic Jim Walsh, photographer Xavier Tavera, artist Melba Price, and documentary filmmaker/journalist Chuck Olsen talk about their work, the people and cultures they cover, and why the public is so interested in these subjects. An online discussion will take place throughout the exhibition at mnartists.org/peyton.

Thursday, March 26

Identity Portraiture with Wing Young Huie, 6–9 pm

Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab

What is one of your first memories? How would you describe yourself? Working with Twin Cities photographer Wing Young Huie, participants ask questions of someone they don’t know and then photograph that person with his or her response in this workshop inspired by the portraits in the exhibition. The resulting images will be posted on the Walker’s Web site.

Target Free Thursday Nights sponsored by Target.

Media Workshop

Media Workshop: Video Portraits

Tuesday, April 21, 6–8 pm, $10 ($5 Walker members) per family
For adults and children ages 10–14
Space is limited; early registration is encouraged. To register or for more information, call 612.375.7600 or visit walkerart.org/tickets.

Join Kris Sorenson, Executive Director of In Progress, a St. Paul-based media organization, for a fun-filled evening of digital portraiture activities, inspired by the exhibition. Using Flip camcorders, parents will shoot as kids direct and star in their own videos. Learn the basic vocabulary of editing and camera handling then share your finished work with others on MySpace or YouTube. Online safety and privacy issues will be addressed.

Free First Saturdays are for Families

People Pictures

Saturday, April 4, 10 am–3 pm, Free

Powerful portraits abound in the exhibition. Spot the celebrities in a survey of paintings that includes the artist’s friends, royalty, and rock stars of recent decades.

Art-Making for the Entire Family: Profile in Paint

10 am–3 pm
Using an overhead projector, oil pastels, and tempera paints, transform your own profile into a wash of colorful brush strokes.

Free First Saturday is sponsored by Ameriprise Financial. Program support by Medtronic Foundation. As part of the Walker Art Center’s Raising Creative Kids Initiative, additional support is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate

Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate

Tuesdays, March 10 and 24; April 7 and 21, 11 am–1 pm
For kids ages 3–5 and adults
Free with gallery admission; Walker members and kids ages 12 and under are always free

What do hip kids and their (possibly) cooler parents do to spark creativity? Paint with pizzazz! You and your tot roll up your sleeves at a playground of painting inspired by the exhibition. Dress for a mess and become a painter through brushing, dripping, and washing brilliant colors over an array of canvases. Films, stories, movement, and other activities will continue the exploration of paint.

Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate is sponsored by Ameriprise Financial. As part of the Walker Art Center’s Raising Creative Kids Initiative, additional support is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Family Activity

Family Activity Sheet

Explore the variety of ways Elizabeth Peyton paints rock star Kurt Cobain on a gallery adventure that will have families drawing, writing, and seeking and finding art together. Sheets available at the lobby desks.

Gallery Tours

All tours free with gallery admission.

Thursday, February 19, 2 pm
Friday, February 27, 2 pm
Saturday, February 28, 2 pm
Friday, March 6, 2 pm
Thursday, March 26, 2 pm
Saturday, March 28, 2 pm
Friday, April 3, 2 pm
Thursday, April 9, 2 pm
Saturday, April 11, 2 pm
Thursday, April 16, 2 pm
Friday, April 24, 2 pm
Sunday, April 26, 2 pm

Beyond the Gallery Preshow Tour

Saturday, February 28, 7 pm, Free with event ticket

Find the links between the exhibition and Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips’ 13 Most Beautiful … Songs for Andy Warhol’s “Screen Tests.” Purchase a ticket to the 8 pm performance and register for a free preshow tour of the exhibition. Limited to 25 participants. Reservations and information: 612.375.7600.

Family Tour and Workshop: Famous Friends

Saturday, March 21, 1–3 pm, $10 ($5 Walker members) per family
For adults and children ages 10–14

Indulge your curiosity about celebrities like Kurt Cobain and Marc Jacobs as you and your tween explore the pop icons pictured in the exhibition. Discover how Elizabeth Peyton’s paintings capture contemporary culture’s fascination with fame, fashion, style, and creative genius in a discussion with Family Programs staff. Afterward, investigate the idea of super-stardom in a hands-on art-making experience.

Gallery Admission, Hours

$10 adults; $8 seniors (65+); $6 students/teens (with ID)
Free to Walker members and children ages 12 and under.
Free with a paid ticket to a same-day Walker event.
Free to all every Thursday evening (5–9 pm) and on the first Saturday of each month (10 am–5 pm).

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11 am–5 pm
Thursday 11 am–9 pm
Closed Mondays

Elizabeth Peyton, Georgia O’Keeffe after Stieglitz 1918, 2006

Oil on canvas
30-1/8 x 23-1/8 in.
Collection David Teiger, fractional and promised gift to the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC
[Georgia O’Keeffe, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Max, 1996

Oil on board
12 x 9 in.
Private collection
Courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
[Max Brown, son of Gavin Brown, gallerist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Pete (Pete Doherty), 2005

Watercolor on paper
14 x 10 in.
Private collection
[Pete Doherty, musician]

Elizabeth Peyton, Jarvis, 1996

Oil on board
11 x 14 in.
Hort Family Collection
[Jarvis Cocker, musician]

Elizabeth Peyton, Frida (Frida Kahlo), 2005

Oil on board
9 x 7 in.
Collection Tiqui Atencio. Promised gift to the Tate Modern, London
[Frida Kahlo, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Marc, 2004

Oil on board
10 x 8 in.
Private collection
[Marc Jacobs, fashion designer]

Elizabeth Peyton, Live to Ride (E.P.), 2003

Oil on board
15 x 12 in.
Collection Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Partial and promised gift of David Teiger in honor of Chrissie Iles
[Elizabeth Peyton self-portrait]

Elizabeth Peyton, L.A. (E.P.), 2004

Oil on board
14 x 11-1/4 in.
Private collection. Promised gift to the Art Institute of Chicago
[Elizabeth Peyton self-portrait]

Elizabeth Peyton, Matthew, 2008

Oil on board
12-1/2 x 9 in.
Private collection
[Matthew Barney, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Nick (Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles, September 2002), 2002

Oil on canvas
40 x 30 in.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. Partial and promised gift of David Teiger
[Nick Relph, filmmaker]

Elizabeth Peyton, Berlin (Tony), 2000

Oil on canvas
40 x 30 in.
Private collection
[Tony Just, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, John Simon Beverley Ritchie, (Sid), 1995

Oil on board
12 x 9 in.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Contemporary Curator’s Fund
[Sid Vicious, musician]

Elizabeth Peyton, Blue Liam, 1996

Oil on board
17 x 14 in.
Private collection
Courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
[Liam Gallagher, musician]

Elizabeth Peyton, John Lydon, 1994

Oil on canvas
12 x 9 in.
Private collection
[Johnny Rotten, musician]

Elizabeth Peyton, Craig, 1997

Oil on canvas
14 x 17 in.
Collection David Teiger, fractional and promised gift to the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
[Craig Wadlin, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Rirkrit, age 3 (Argentina), 1993

Ink on paper
5-1/2 x 3 x 3-3/4 in.
Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
[Rirkrit Tiravanija, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Jake Chapman, 1995

Oil on board
14 x 11 in.
Private collection
Courtesy neugerriemschneider, Berlin
[Jake Chapman, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Ben Drawing, 2001

Oil on board
10-1/8 x 8-1/4 in.
Collection Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
A.W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment, 2001
[Ben Brunnemer, Peyton’s assistant from 2000–2004]

Elizabeth Peyton, Princess Kurt, 1995

Oil on linen
14 x 11-3/4 in.
Collection Walker Art Center
T.B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1995
[Kurt Cobain, musician]

Elizabeth Peyton, David Hockney, Powis Terrace Bedroom, 1998

Oil on board
9-3/4 x 7 in.
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
[David Hockney, artist]

Elizabeth Peyton, Michelle and Sasha Obama Listening to Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention August 2008, 2008

Oil on board
14-1/4 x 11-1/4 in.
Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

Elizabeth Peyton, Jackie and John (Jackie fixing John’s hair), 1999

Oil on board
14 x 11 in.
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey R. Winter
[Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr.]

Elizabeth Peyton, Napoleon, 1991

Charcoal on paper
22 x 18 in.
Private collection. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
[Napoleon Bonaparte]