Laurel Nakadate

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Laurel Nakadate
Laurel Nakadate, October 12, 2012 (8081562948) (cropped).jpg
Nakadate in 2012
Born (1975-12-15) December 15, 1975 (age 44)
Austin, Texas, United States
Known forPhotography, Video, film

Laurel Nakadate (born December 15, 1975) is an American video artist, filmmaker, and photographer living in New York City.


Laurel Nakadate was born in Austin, Texas and raised in Ames, Iowa.

Nakadate's 2005 solo show at Danziger Projects, "Love Hotel and Other Stories", was featured in The New York Times,[1] The Village Voice,[2] and Flash Art. Art critic Jerry Saltz named her a "standout" in the 2005 "Greater New York" show at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, N.Y.

Since then, Nakadate's work has been exhibited at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Asia Society, New York; the Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Berlin Biennial; Grand Arts, Kansas City; and at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York. A ten-year retrospective of her work, called Only the Lonely, was on view at MoMA PS1 from January 23 to August 8, 2011.[3]

A cover interview with the artist appeared in the October 2006 issue of The Believer.[4]

Nakadate's first feature-length film, Stay The Same Never Change, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on January 16, 2009, and was featured in the 2009 New Directors/New Films Festival at The Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center. Her second feature, The Wolf Knife, premiered at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival, and was nominated for a 2010 Gotham Award and a 2011 Independent Spirit Award.

Nakadate currently lives and works in New York City.


Laurel Nakadate is known for creating video and photographic works that explore themes of sexuality, femininity and gender roles, and the knife-edge between vulnerability and power within chance encounters. Nakadate has often used herself as a subject within her work, documenting her interactions with strangers in various settings. Tonally, her work has been described as "disturbingly intimate","[5] as well as "creepy" art where "voyeurism, exhibitionism, and hostility merge with gullibility, cunning, and folly."

Her newer photographic work, Relations, explores Nakadate's own genealogy through photos of distant relatives.[5] Her feature film The Wolf Knife continues Nakadate's common themes of voyeurism, connection, and intimacy.[6]


New York Times critic Ken Johnson called her "smart and scarily adventurous."[1] She was also featured in the book 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers[7].

Art critic John Yau, in an article in The Brooklyn Rail on her 2011 retrospective, writes to the artist: "You explore a more unstable terrain, always intent on making 'a narrow escape,' the only option you see for yourself. Meanwhile, the middle aged, potbellied man is condemned to pirouette, again and again. It is his one true moment of beauty and tenderness recorded for posterity—you have given him his 'narrow escape' and he knows it, as he does what he is told."[8]

New York Times critic Roberta Smith reviewed very favorably Nakadate's recent show, "Strangers and Relations (2013)," a show consisting of portraits of Americans distantly related to the artist (and located through DNA-testing), calling it "unusually gripping," and adding, "Ms. Nakadate’s nocturnes envelop us in darkness and tenderness and, as usual in her work, an unexpected intimacy opens up."[5]


  1. ^ a b Johnson, Ken (2005-05-06). "Art in Review; Laurel Nakadate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  2. ^ Saltz, Jerry (2005-04-26). "Whatever Laurel Wants". Village Voice. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  3. ^ "MoMA PS1: Exhibitions: Laurel Nakadate: Only the Lonely". Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  4. ^ "- Believer Magazine". Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Smith, Roberta (2013-06-20). "Laurel Nakadate: 'Strangers and Relations'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  6. ^ "The Believer - The Wolf Knife: A Feature Film by Laurel Nakadate". The Believer. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  7. ^ Hill, Iris Tillman; Duke University; Center for Documentary Studies (2003-01-01). Twenty-five under twenty-five. New York: PowerHouse Books in association with the Center for Documentary Studies. ISBN 1576871924.
  8. ^ Yau, John (May 2011). "Laurel Nakadate: Only the Lonely". The Brooklyn Rail.

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