Elaine Sturtevant

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Elaine Sturtevant
Born Elaine Frances Horan
(1924-08-23)August 23, 1924
Lakewood, Ohio, United States
Died May 7, 2014(2014-05-07) (aged 89)
Paris, France
Known for appropriation art, conceptual art
Awards La Biennale di Venezia Golden Lion, 2011

Elaine Frances Sturtevant, (née Horan; August 23, 1924 – May 7, 2014), also known simply as "Sturtevant", was an American artist. She achieved recognition for her carefully inexact repetitions of other artists' works that prefigured appropriation.

Early life and education[edit]

Elaine Frances Horan was born on 23 August 1924, in Lakewood, Ohio, near Cleveland.[1] She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Iowa, followed by a master’s in the field from Teachers College of Columbia University. In New York, she also studied at the Art Students League.

Work[edit]

Sturtevant spent the first years of her life working in New York, where she began in 1965 to manually reproduce paintings and objects created by her contemporaries with results that can immediately be identified with an original.[2] Sturtevant thus turned the concept of originality on its head. All of her works are copies of the works of other artists; none is an original. She initially focused on works by such American artists as Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol.[3] Sturtevant copied Warhol's silkscreens so often that Warhol himself, when bombarded with questions about his working practice, once said, "I don't know. Ask Elaine."[4] Sturtevant's mastery of copying other artist's work was so great that in 1965 a Jasper Johns flag painting that formed part of Robert Rauschenberg's combine “Short Circuit” was stolen, so Rauschenberg commissioned Sturtevant to paint a reproduction of Johns’s flag.[5] In the late 1960s, Sturtevant concentrated on replicating works by Joseph Beuys and Duchamp. In a 1967 photograph, she and Rauschenberg pose as a nude Adam and Eve, roles originally played by Marcel Duchamp and Brogna Perlmutter in a 1924 picture shot by Man Ray.[6]

In the early 1970s, Sturtevant stopped exhibiting art for more than 10 years.[7]

From the early 1980s she focused on the next generation of artists, including Robert Gober, Anselm Kiefer, Paul McCarthy, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. She mastered painting, sculpture, photography and film in order to produce a full range of copies of the works of her chosen artists. In most cases, her decision to start copying an artist happened before those artists achieved broader recognition. Nearly all of the artists she chose to copy are today considered iconic for their time or style. This has given rise to discussions amongst art critics on how it had been possible for Sturtevant to identify those artists at such an early stage.

In 1991, Sturtevant presented an entire show consisting of her repetition of Warhol’s ‘Flowers’ series.

Her later works mainly focus on reproductions in the digital age. Sturtevant commented on her work at her 2012 retrospective Sturtevant: Image over Image at the Moderna Museet: "What is currently compelling is our pervasive cybernetic mode, which plunks copyright into mythology, makes origins a romantic notion, and pushes creativity outside the self. Remake, reuse, reassemble, recombine - that's the way to go."[8]

Death[edit]

She died on 7 May 2014[9] in Paris, where she lived and worked.[10]

Exhibitions[edit]

Sturtevant had her first her solo show in 1965 at the Bianchini Gallery.[11] In the early 1970s, she showed with German art dealer Reinhard Onnasch.[12]

Solo exhibitions of her work have since been mounted at:

Recognition[edit]

In 2008 Sturtevant was awarded the Francis J. Greenburger Award.[16]

On 4 June 2011, Sturtevant received the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 54th Venice Biennale.[17]

In September 2013, she was awarded the Kurt Schwitters Prize for Lifetime Achievement by the Sprengel Museum.[18]

Art market[edit]

In 2007, an original Crying Girl by Roy Lichtenstein sold at auction for $78,400; in 2011, Sturtevant’s canvas reworking of Crying Girl — the only Sturtevant painting of its kind in existence — sold for $710,500.[19] In 2014, Lichtenstein, Frighten Girl (1966) sold at Christie's for $3.4 million.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Elaine Sturtevant" 032c, Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  2. ^ Sturtevant: Raw Power, 3 March 2007 - 7 April 2007 Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg.
  3. ^ Searle, Adrian. "Elaine Sturtevant: queen of copycats" The Guardian, Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  4. ^ Hainley, Bruce. "Erase and Rewind" Frieze Magazine, Retrieved 8 March 2014
  5. ^ Carol Vogel (June 9, 2011), Now Starring in Chicago, a Prime Rauschenberg New York Times.
  6. ^ Holland Cotter (November 13, 2014), Taking Copycatting to a Higher Level – ‘Sturtevant: Double Trouble,’ a Career Retrospective at MoMA New York Times.
  7. ^ Holland Cotter (November 13, 2014), Taking Copycatting to a Higher Level – ‘Sturtevant: Double Trouble,’ a Career Retrospective at MoMA New York Times.
  8. ^ Sturtevant, Elaine. "Sturtevant" Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  9. ^ Artforum, May 7, 2014
  10. ^ Sturtevant Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg.
  11. ^ Bruce Hainley, Erase and Rewind: Elaine Sturtevant Frieze, Issue 53, June–August 2000.
  12. ^ Gareth Harris (October 9, 2013), Not for Sale: A Curator’s Guide to Diversity of Postwar Art International Herald Tribune.
  13. ^ [1] Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  14. ^ [2] Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  15. ^ [3] Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Past Awards: 2008" Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  17. ^ "La Biennale di Venezia Golden Lion 2011"
  18. ^ "Sturtevant" Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  19. ^ Margalit Fox (May 16, 2014), Elaine Sturtevant, Appropriation Artist, Is Dead at 89 New York Times.
  20. ^ Holland Cotter (November 13, 2014), Taking Copycatting to a Higher Level – ‘Sturtevant: Double Trouble,’ a Career Retrospective at MoMA New York Times.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anne Dressen et al. Sturtevant - The Razzle Dazzle of Thinking (Paris: Paris Musées, 2010).
  • Lena Maculan (Ed.). Sturtevant. Catalogue Raisonné (Frankfurt/Main: Museum für Moderne Kunst and Ostfildern Ruit: Hatje-Cantz, 2005).
  • Bruce Hainley. Sturtevant: Shifting Mental Structures (Hatje Cantz Publishers, 2002).
  • Rikard Ekholm. Identical, But Still Different: On Artistic Appropriation in Visual Art" (Dissertation. Uppsala University: The Department of Philosophy).

External links[edit]