With Pawel Althamer, Louise Bourgeois, and Rachel Harrison

With Pawel Althamer, Louise Bourgeois, and Rachel Harrison


May 29, 2008

New Parkett with Pawel Althamer, Louise Bourgeois, and Rachel Harrison


Parkett’s explorations and investigations of important international contemporary artists continue in vol. # 82, featuring Pawel Althamer, Louise Bourgeois, and Rachel Harrison.

Additional texts have been written by Kenneth Goldsmith on his UbuWeb creation, Suzanne Hudson on the 60s hippie retreat Esalen, and Jeremy Sigler on Brock Enright. The Cumulus texts are by science fiction novelist Mark von Schlegell and by Catherine Chevalier. The insert is by Sadie Benning. The spine is by Paulina Olowska.

The Polish artist Pawel Althamer brings a shamanistic intensity and quirky sense of spirituality to his work, often extending it through his artist persona into social space, while his obsession with self-portraiture generates an ever-expanding repertoire of spooky “Althamers.” As Massimiliano Gioni points out, “It is surely no coincidence that the artist often represents himself naked, in a sort of Edenic state … Many of his self-portraits and portraits of his family members, in fact, are realized with animal skin and intestines, hay, and hair; part Golems and part fetishes, they possess something of a totemic power.” The history and context including many of his Grotowski-inspired paratheatrical works are discussed in essays by Catherine Wood, and Adam Szymczyk. For his Parkett edition, titled “Retrospective,” Althamer has cast a series of twelve tin figurines – each a miniature of an earlier work – and placed them in a hand-made suitcase.

In his text “Mother of Them All/ Sister of Some” Robert Storr charts Louise Bourgeois’ influence and rivalries from each decade in the last half century, exposing an artist who, well into her nineties, remains a feisty competitor, at times surprisingly territorial of the family tree that continues to grow from her hauntingly personal oeuvre. In a playful reference to her convoluted multi-generational influence, Storr says, “Any artist born after 1965 will have had the unpredictable “new” Bourgeois as a competitive contemporary… and those born later may well have found themselves running to catch up with the ‘old-new’ Bourgeois, as an even newer, shape-shifting Bourgeois has been regularly putting fresh work into the world.” Tracey Emin, in her captivating story of meeting her heroine, brings us through the front door of Bourgeois’ crepuscular house and up close to the legendary French-born artist, where we witness that despite her often intimidating stature she has a provocative sense of humor. Bourgeois is also discussed by the celebrated feminist historian Griselda Pollock who delves into a recent series of red watercolors. One work from the series has been developed into an edition for Parkett called “Maternal Man”—the outline of a standing pregnant man with a visible fetus
growing inside.

New York artist Rachel Harrison combines assemblage techniques and hand-made organic forms that seem to poke fun at their own clunky, slovenly forms. In their emphatic glee, they might be said to have an embarrassing presence; Ina Blom refers to them, ironically, as gaudy rock stars on stage. Many works also function as odd product placements where various packaged goods make jarring, often absurd cameos. Like commodity parasites, these items become embedded within the works’ malformed sculptural bulk. Harrison is discussed in this issue by Blom, Richard Hawkins, Alison Gingeras, and George Baker. For her Parkett edition, humorously titled “Wardrobe Malfunction,” Harrison overpainted a well-known image of the pop star Prince with splashes of sassy bright pigment and printed it as a stunning 10-color lithograph.

For more details on the new Parkett, its content and artist editions, as well as for subscriptions and back issues, please go to www.parkettart.com

The comprehensive library of contemporary art:
For the special offer of all 50 available Parkett issues as with 140 in-depth artist portraits, 800 texts and essays and 4000 color reproductions please go to

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May 29, 2008

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