Diane Rosenstein Fine Art is pleased to announce Eleanor Antin: Passengers, a solo exhibition of drawings, photographs, and découpages by this iconic and influential pioneer of Conceptual art. Eleanor Antin: Passengers opens Saturday, April 12th, with a reception for the artist from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. This is Antin’s first exhibition with the gallery.
Eleanor Antin, who is based in San Diego, uses fictional characters, autobiography, and theatrical narrative to examine the ways that history takes shape, and also to scrutinize the role that visual representation plays in that process. For this show, the artist reflects on recurring motifs in her work to design an installation that engages the existential themes that run through her historical narratives,
Ms. Antin writes: “I think that the idea of ‘passing through’ has been a trope of mine throughout my career as an artist. From portraits of people made out of consumer goods - their decay built into them - through 100 Boots just passing through, or my deposed King passing the hat around to raise money to start a revolution against the developers or Eleanora Antinova, my black ballerina passing through modernist art history into oblivion, or Nurse Eleanor Nightingale passing through the Crimea bandaging the wounded and comforting the dying while Little Nurse Eleanor passes from bastard to bastard looking for true love, all the way back to the Roman past and its contemporary corollary, that train wreck, the American Empire, I’ve journeyed with my fellow passengers on our trip to nowhere.”
Passengers presents an edited selection of drawings – in conversation with photographs -- that includes early “Roissy” collages (1967); costume drawings and stage sets from “Before The Revolution” (1975-78) and previously unseen pastels from “Dance of Death” (1974-75). Most of these works on paper have not been seen for decades; several are being presented for the first time. Even those familiar with Antin’s work will find that these extraordinary watercolors, pastels, and découpages reveal a new dimension of an artist widely considered to be one of this country’s foremost practitioners of Conceptual art.
The installation also has a prevalent photographic component (a key aspect of Antin’s practice) that includes vintage prints from “Portrait of The King” (1972) and an editioned set of the fifty-one photographs that comprise “100 Boots” (1971-73/2005). The most recent work is a selection of color photographs from each of the “Historical Takes” series (2001-2007). These monumental works recreate scenes from ancient Greek and Roman empires through the screen of 19th-century neoclassical painting. One photograph, “Going Home,” (from Roman Allegories),” (2004),revisits the scene of “100 Boots Facing The Sea,” (1971), the very first image from that series: all of the players are standing at the shore, at the border between terra firma and what lies ahead.
Eleanor Antin: Passengers will be on view through May 31, 2014. A catalogue, with an essay by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, will accompany the exhibition.