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).
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.
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: 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
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 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.
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