Peregrine Honig (born 1976 in San Francisco, CA) is an American artist whose work is concerned with the relationship between pop culture, sexual vulnerability, social anxieties, the ethics of luxury and trends in consumerism.
- 1 Work
- 2 Projects
- 3 Editions
- 4 Influences
- 5 Career
- 6 Collections
- 7 Gallery Representation
- 8 Curatorial
- 9 Entrepreneur
- 10 Essays
- 11 Publications
Early sexual awakenings, the visual manifestation of disease, and the social anxieties of realized and fictional characters reveal themselves through Peregrine Honig’s delicately rendered drawing and painting.
Honig’s breakthrough series depicts a deceptively innocent alphabet game. Little girls are drawn onto doilies, each with their own rhyming couplets: “E is Emma secretly taped/ F is Fiona violently raped / N is for Nora who liked it on top / O is Olivia who begged him to stop.” This series marks the beginning of Honig’s sweetly disturbing observations into hypersexualization and voyeurism of young girls in American pop culture. The original Ovubet oval plates are owned by the Milwaukee Museum of Art. The exhibition was presented at Augen Gallery in Portland, Oregon.
Pin Up Girls (2001–02)
Honig’s pin-up girls examine the objectification of commercialized female bodies. Addictions, delinquent motherhood, and word-play evolve in the pin-up drawings, providing commentary on idealized femininity and the physical manifestation of beauty. In this series, Honig alters the forms, inserting wasp-like waists into disproportionate limbs—a far cry from the idealized, perfectly proportioned beauties. In one drawing, Honig’s word play reads: "Ask this call girl where her money goes—milk and eggs and baby clothes.” Says Honig in her Pin Up Girls artist statement: “Stylized emotions and vintage iconography romanticize their self-destruction.” As such, Honig reads in the darker side of women’s sexual and professional lives. Audiences must look closer at figures that have been damaged, degraded and, ultimately, exploited by societal norms and constraints placed on women. In “Betty,” a fallen nurse lays passed out on her back, a pill bottle dropped next to her hand. She is accompanied by the text: “Don’t sample your wares, you silly nurse—they might get suspicious and check your purse!”
Mint Forest (2003-04)
How does the media spin fairytale-like stories, pushing hero narratives and tales of youthful innocence? In April 2001, the dismembered body of a three-year-old African-American girl was found in the woods of Kansas City, Missouri. The unidentified girl was called “Precious Doe,” a demoralizing and racist nickname. Precious Doe’s story served as a catalyst for Honig’s Mint Forest series. Documenting the weathering of Precious Doe’s forensic photograph, Honig observed altars composed of toys, stuffed animals, flowers and notes pop up throughout the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. The altars eventually crumbled, soaking up rain and paling in the sun. In 2005, four years after the story broke, the girl was identified as Erica Michelle Marie Green, and her mother and stepfather were convicted of the crime.
The Mint Forest series was born out of the fairytale the media spun of the Precious Doe story. Court cases imitate the darker Grimm’s fairy tales, and the media pushes people into fantastical stories that instigate fear and hopelessness. The Mint Forest Series begins with identical lithographed backgrounds—a soft Bambi green print copied from a Japanese children’s book. Like the fawns and Precious Doe, the figures in the series were ironic, delicate, and tragic. Jon Benet Ramsey, the child beauty pageant star who was murdered in 1996 at age 6, is cast into the Mint Forest. Precious Doe appears perched between trees, her throat draped in poinsettias. In "Mouse Man" (2004), a castrated boy mouse stands in the forest, clutching his crotch. "Test Bunny" (2004) is an albino playboy bunny, her eyes sore like a test animal. Placed alongside each other, the Mint Forest takes on a storyboard; the forest becomes a backdrop for these twisted pop culture fairytale glamour shots. Abject spirits live in the Mint Forest, floating amongst the pale pastel trees. The piece Taylor and Ashley from this series is owned by the Kemper Museum of Art.
Albocracy means to be ruled by white people—or a government of Albinos. This series of drawings investigates a culture of fantastical diseases and fears taken to extreme. Boys and girls with phobias, neuroses and antisocial behavior share the page with their Honigian diagnosis. In one, a young boy eats his right-hand as the text whiles away next to him: “‘Don’t bite your nails,’ his mother said, and so he ate himself instead.’” Honig illustrates fantastical “modern illnesses.” In “Tanorexic,” an extremely tanned anorexic girl reveals her bikini line; in “Opsomania,” a young nude girl covered in cupcake tops is diagnosed with an “obsession with sweets and delicacies.” Where does reality begin and fiction end in terms of modern-day phobias and diagnosis? Our consumer culture sees us as sick, and presents products that pretend to offer answers. Rather, we are sick in a different way: We play into the marketing-mediated narrative, constantly searching for a cure.
Father Gander (2005)
Honig’s collection of six lithographs in her series "Father Gander" portrays the way adults project their fears and shortcomings onto animals and small children, then attempt to blanket them in a shroud of morally perfect convictions. What if these childrens’ stories were reinvented? What if the characters are even darker than they seemed? In Snow, Snow White is a coke addict. In Bear Back, the big, bad bear throws Goldilocks over his shoulder and marches into the woods. What really happened to Little Red Riding Hood?
Mary Kate and Ashley (2007)
Mary Kate and Ashley looks at the once-adorable twin toddlers of Full House. They grew up on camera, and became first-rate adolescent fashionistas. New fairytales are woven by pop culture’s sewing machine, blurring fiction and reality, myths and truths. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are fetishized, one dubbed the “sick twin,” the other the “healthy twin.” Together the twins came of age on television, became women, started their own fashion line. Then Mary-Kate went to rehab for anorexia. Honig’s Mary Kate and Ashley series illustrates America’s obsession with fame, fashion and disease.
V.I.P delves into the fascination with the glimmer and sparkly façade of couture fashion’s allure. The women of VIP are adorned in couture fashion, but they do not wear it like models on the runway. In "Chanel Hoodie," a woman sits with her ankles and wrists strung together with the same string that’s attached to a black Chanel bag covering her head. In Chanel Masai, a spaced-out girl tilts her head back, gazing up at something in the sky from behind her black sunglasses while hooking her finger into her thong strap. A bloodied Chanel logo is carved into her midriff. V.I.P. suggests the American dependence on consumption and brand names that are supposed to make one feel VIP. Surface beauty shines as the core rots.
In Exposed, Honig takes fashion magazine gimmicks like “best/worst dressed,” “before/after” shots, and replaces the glossy celebrities with cuddly stuffed animals. An adorable donkey checks into rehab; an owl and a teddy bear model the season’s fashion do’s and don’ts. By anthropomorphosizing these animals in fashionista form, Honig illustrates the ridiculous judgement we project onto celebrities—our modern-day princes and princesses, heros and villians.
Pukers delves into consumer culture excess. Each puker vomits up a little bit of an excessive feeling or occurrence, barfing over a new purse, too much of a color, too sweet of a smell, too much love, too much couture fashion. These nameless figures have reached a cultural, emotional, fashion-induced tipping point; they must purge, or else.
Anchor Babies (2010)
The Anchor Babies drawings call to mind the derogatory term “anchor babies,” used to describe a child born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants. Under the 1965 Immigration Act, these children act as an “anchor” that pulls a host of relatives into permanent residency. Here, Honig expounds upon the theme of babies born in abnormal conditions. In Foreign Birth, a pregnant Chinese woman stands in profile with the label “Made in China” slapped across her stomach. Porn Birth depicts a woman with perfectly rounded nipples and soft, succulent features giving birth to an angelic baby. And in Prom Birth, (a stillborn baby tumbles out from underneath a sick-looking woman’s skirt. These are images of loss through the eyes of a stereotyped middle America, the same place where winning and success are birthed.
Beautiful Boys (2010)
The Beautiful Boys continue Honig’s investigation into ideals of beauty. Using beeswax, Honig re-casts kitsch plastic mantelpiece objects, filling in their hollow heads to melting them into sweet innocence. They are at once young boys, lesbians, twin brothers, sisters and adolescent lovers. As the temperature changes, they mold and twist, forever transforming.
Twin Fawns (2000–current)
Muses since Honig first laid eyes upon them in a mom-and-pop toy and science shop in Kansas City, Missouri, the taxidermied unborn twin baby fawns rest peacefully in their uterine glass case. Freakishly beautiful, the Twin Fawns' exaggerated features and cartoon-like appearance often trick viewers into believing that they are breathing. The fawns sleep peacefully in an artificial glass womb-like case constructed by the artist.
Widow Magazine (2010)
Widow Magazine, Peregrine Honig’s 167-page one-time limited-edition faux fashion magazine, plays with the fashion magazine form. In jest, Honig names it after the one female archetype that has never had a magazine that caters to her “market”—the widow. Widow Magazine was published by Landfall Press in 2010.
Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (2010)
Honig appeared on the first-ever artist reality television show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. She advanced to the final round, where she took second place after winner Abdi Farah and second runner-up, Miles Mendenhall. On the show she wore fashion by Kansas City designers Ari Fish, a contestant on Project Runway, and fashion designer, Peggy Noland.
Cocksucker Scarf on Other Criteria
Honig's limited edition scarf, Cocksucker, on Other Criteria.
Invisible Exports Artist of the Month Club
The oeuvre of Peregrine Honig spans countless pop culture influences, including: vintage pin-up posters portraying sex-symbol celebrities; children’s fairytales and underlying adult narratives; sexism and racism in marketing and advertising; the way America delivers femininity to the general public during wartimes; the shipping of fertility and iconic heterosexuality to soldiers; luxury during periods of intense poverty; the way underlying ideals of beauty found in fairytales are used to sell products and ideals to modern-day consumers, e.g. “Snow White skin,” “Ruby Red lips,” “Sleeping Beauty.” She is also influenced by fashion magazines, specifically the ways they deliver idealism through the image of perpetual youth/teenage beauty, and their indulgence in seasonal luxury. Taxidermy and hunting culture are also great influences on Honig’s work, specifically the beauty of preservation and the voyeurism of captured moments. Taxidermied animals are dreams stuck in time, exotic and erotic. Wealthy eccentrics own the furs of tigers, cheetahs, snow leopards and wear their pelts. Hunting culture carries with it a hypermasculinity—the bravado of capturing dangerous animals thus projecting sexuality onto the skins of high-class animal predators.
Sally Mann’s photographs of her pre-pubescent children are at once tender, loving, sensitive and extremely vulnerable, documenting their transition from quiet, sensual beings to sexual beings.
Hans Belmer, a draftsman and sculptor, created bulbuous life-size pubescent female dolls with off-kilter bodies, extraneous arms and legs, and missing limbs. He also created erotic drawings, etchings, sexually explicit photographs, paintings, and prints of pubescent girls. In 1954 he met Unica Zürn, a female writer and painter who became his muse. His sexual drawings and broken doll sculptures dealt with the destruction of Aryan female idealism.
Petah Coyne’s sculptures stand at over ten feet tall, and are encrusted with flowers, ribbons and birds, and dripping with wax. Referring to her sculptures as her “girls,” Coyne’s creations are at once abstract and sophisticated, exploring the proximity of beauty and decay. Honig is interested in Coyne’s use of wax, stating “wax is like lace in its transitional nature. Lace is symbolic of birth, christening to death veils, widows, caskets. Wax is the material of birthdays, religion, celebration, funerals.”
On R. Crumb as an influence, Honig states: “Crumb’s cartoons create a stranger narrative than the Sunday Cartoons- a return to Little Nemo and the Yellow Kid, Alice in Wonderland. Imagine my surprise when I saw Crumbs tool of choice was the same as mine- the ever clogging .30 Rapidiograph pen. I grew up around Crumb’s work—the posters, the comic books full of goofy sexual scenarios, he was my Mickey Mouse. And, like early Fleishman and Disney, there is a political edge to the goofiness.” His work was a fixture of 1970s pop culture, and was published in San Francisco where Honig came of age.
Born in San Francisco and raised in The Castro and in Project Artaud, Honig moved to the Kansas City, Missouri, at 17 to attend the Kansas City Art Institute. At age 22, Honig was the youngest living artist to have work acquired by the Whitney Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Honig recently appeared on season one of BRAVO’s artist reality television show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, which aired from June 9–August 11, 2010. Recent solo exhibitions include Loser at Dwight Hackett Projects in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Pretty Babies at Gescheidle Gallery in Chicago; and Albocracy at Jet Art Works in Washington DC. Significant recent group shows include Talk Dirty to Me at Larissa Goldston Gallery (2009), Transfigure at Kemper Museum, Kansas City, Missouri (2008), Diane and Sandy Besser Collection at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California (2007).
Honig’s work is included in numerous private and public collections, including: The Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University Art Gallery, The Fogg Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the 21c Museum Hotel, and Ball State University Museum of Art
Honig is represented by Dwight Hackett Projects in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and The Dolphin Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri.
Honig is an entrepreneur who curates and directs annual projects under the umbrella FaHrenheit.
Honig also owns a lingerie and swimwear boutique, Birdies, which opened in 2002, and is located in the Crossroads Section of Kansas City, Missouri.
- Alicia Eler, Patricia Herrmann (Editor). “There Are No Winners, Only Losers,”, essay for exhibition Loser at Dwight Hackett Projects, October 2010.
- Alicia Eler, Essay for Widow Magazine, Chicago, May 2009.
- Zane Fisher, Essay for Widow Magazine, Santa Fe, March 2009.
- Kathryn M. Davis, THE Magazine, “Peregrine Honig: Loser,” November 2010.
- Rani Molla, Santa Fe Reporter, “As Not Seen On TV,” October 13, 2010.
- The Art Reserve, “Peregrine Honig: Loser at Dwight Hackett Projects,” October 2010.
- Evan J. Garza, “Spotlight: Peregrine Honig [Editions #29, #41, #53, #71],” New American Paintings, August/September 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Work of Art Exit Interview: Runner-up No. 1,” August 12, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Jerry Saltz’s Work of Art Finale Recap: Life Breaks Through,” August 11, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Jerry Saltz’s Work of Art Recap: Forest for the Trees,” August 4, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Work of Art Exit Interview: Episode Eight,” July 29, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Jerry Saltz’s Work of Art Recap: The Loneliest Number,” July 28, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Jerry Saltz’s Work of Art Recap: Suffer the Children,” July 21, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Work of Art Exit Interview: Episode Six,” July 15, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Jerry Saltz’s Work of Art Recap: Public Shaming,” July 14, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Jerry Saltz’s Work of Art Recap: Miles May Vary,” July 7, 2010.
- Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine, “Jerry Saltz’s Work of Art Recap: Awkward,” June 30, 2010.
- Laura Spencer, “Peregrine Honig ‘Work of Art’ interview by Laura Spencer,” KCStageBlog, June 11, 2010.
- Lori Waxman, “Peregrine Honig,” 60 Word/Min Art Critic, April 17, 2010.
- Katy Ryan, “Is Peregrine Honig ‘The Next Great Artist?’” Kansas City Free Press, April 9, 2010.
- Barb Shelly, “Peregrine Honig’s TV venture is good for art and good for Kansas City,” Kansas City.com.
- Alice Thorson, “Honig’s art takes flight with Widow,” Kansas City Star, March 1, 2010.
- Mike Miller, “Peregrine Honig's Widow, a First for Art Publisher Landfall Press,” Art Tattler, March 2010.
- Zane Fischer, “Lure of the Lurid: Peregrine Honig’s Fashism,” Santa Fe Reporter, April 16, 2008.
- Alan Artner, “Peregrine Honig’s works recast world of women’s fashion as wasting, fragile,” Chicago Tribune, June 22, 2007.
- Alicia Eler, Time Out Chicago, “Artist Portrait: Peregrine Honig,” June 7–13, 2007.
- Marcus Cain, Venus Magazine, “Peregrine Honig,” 2006.
- Leigh Anne Miller, Art in America, “Peregrine Honig at JET Artworks, June/July 2006.
- Tom Collins, Albuquerque Journal, “The Buzz is Back,” April 15, 2005.
- Diane Armitage, THE Magazine, Santa Fe, New Mexico, “Draw,” May 2005.
- Zane Fischer, Santa Fe Reporter, “Drawing for Content,” April 6 –12, 2005.
- Starr Figura, “The Random and the Ordered,” exhibition essay, International Print Center, New York.
- Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times, “Cartoons Storm the Gallery Gates,” July 22, 2004.
- Michelle Martinez, Dallas Observer, ”Wild Nights,” July 15-21, 2004.
- James Auer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Ambition Clothes ‘Remarkable Women,” April 7, 2004.
- Merritt Martin, Dallas Observer, “This Week’s Picks,” March 31, 2004.
- Tom Collins, Albuquerque Journal, “Simple Line-Drawings Come with a Message,” June 27, 2003.
- Kurt Shaw, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, “Artists Explore the Development of the Cartoon...,” January 31, 2003.
- Leslie Hoffman, Pittsburgh Pulp, “It’s All in the Timing,” January 23, 2003.
- Regina Hackett, Seattle Post Intelligencer, [[ http://www.seattlepi.com/visualart/76370_figure28q.shtml%7C“Frye’s Exhibit of Figurative Artists...”,]] June 28, 2002.
- Christopher Leitch, Review Magazine, “Peregrine Honig: Prerogative,” March 2002.
- Robin Trafton, Kansas City Star, “Where the Sublime Meets the Everyday,” January 25, 2002.
- Krystyna Wasserman, Book as Art XIV: Temptations, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., exhibition catalogue.
- Heather Lustfeldt, Art Papers Magazine, “Kansas City, Peregrine Honig,”March/April 2002, p.49.
- David DiMichele, Artweek, “Sketchy at Acuna-Hansen Gallery,” October 2001, p. 19.
- Alice Thorson, Art in America, “Peregrine Honig at Byron C. Cohen,” July 2001, p.109.
- Elizabeth Kirsch, Kansas City Star, “Charlotte Street Fund,” November 26, 2000.
- Alice Thorson, Kansas City Star, “Quality Pays for Six Kansas City Artists,” April 2, 2000.
- Art on Paper, “Working Proof,” March-April 2000, p. 64
- Regina Hackett, Seattle Post Intelligencer, “At Two Galleries, Art’s Desire,” February 11, 2000.
- Daniel Duford, Willamette Week, “A Primer for Lolita,” October 20, 1999.
- D.K. Row, The Oregonian, “Pretty in Pink,” October 15, 1999.
- Carol Mickett, KKFI radio, “Art Radio with Carol Mickett,” August 27, 1999.
- Robin Trafton, Kansas City Star, “Summertime Smorgasbord,” July 16, 1999.
- Elizabeth Kirsch, Kansas City Star, “Shift in Perspective,” August 9, 1998.
- Victor Wishna, The Independent, “Art in Perspective,” August 8, 1998.
- Raphael Rubenstein, Perspective Kansas City, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS, exhibition brochure.
- Deborah Dickson Campbell, Pitch Weekly, “Pete and Repeat,” July 30-August 5, 1998.
- Alice Thorson, Kansas City Star, “Art at the Crossroads: Every Direction is Right,”August 2, 1998.
- Elizabeth Kirsch, Kansas City Star, “Three Questions with Raphael Rubenstein,” July 9, 1998.
- Alice Thorson, Kansas City Star, “Art at the Crossroads Takes a Youthful Spin,” June 12,1998.
- Nicole Sailor, Kansas City Star, “New Sorority Attracts Fans and Critics,” September 4,1997.
- Deborah Dickson Campbell, Pitch Weekly, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” September 1997.