Stars exhibits Pippa Garner: Act Like You Know Me September 24-November 13 at Kunstverein München, Germany.
Pippa Garner:Act Like You Know Me September 24-November 13 Kunstverein München
Pippa Garner Un(tit)led (HE2SHE License Plate), 1995. Courtesy the artist and STARS, Los Angeles.
Act Like You Know Me is the first comprehensive solo exhibition of Pippa Garner in Europe which offers a necessarily fragmentary insight into an incredibly extensive body of work spanning more than 50 years. Born in a Chicago suburb in 1942, the artist and author formerly known as Philip Garner is pushing back against systems of consumerism, marketing, and waste and has created a dense body of work including drawing, performance, sculpture, video, and installation. Her uncompromising approach to life and practice has allowed her to interact with the worlds of illustration, editorial, television, and art without ever quite becoming beholden to them.
After serving as a conscripted U.S. Army Combat Artist in the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Garner resumed her studies in the highly regarded Transportation Design department at ArtCenter, California, with plans to become a car stylist. Her circle during the ’70s and ’80s included Ed Ruscha, Chris Burden, and the radical art and design collective Ant Farm. The painter Nancy Reese—at once a creative collaborator and romantic partner—further introduced Garner to contemporary art institutions and communities, as well as to the idea that she might identify as an artist herself. Then known and identifying as Philip, Garner gained attention for her performance, design, and video work at galleries and museums, as well as the illustrations and editorials she placed in books and magazines, which segued into appearances on talk shows.
In the mid 1980s, Garner began a decade-long feminization process that included hormone replacement therapy and eventually sex reassignment surgery. As an extension of her practice altering materials of mass production, Garner’s approach to gender transition demonstrated her experimental attitude, transpersonal identity, and way of queering everyday objects. When Garner first began hormone therapy there was no widespread concept of the in-betweens of gender. As the author and co-curator of the exhibition at Kunstverein München, Fiona Alison Duncan, says: “Her work is about gender expansiveness and gender as a commodity, you can customize your body, inside and out, so long as you can afford to do so.”
Act Like You Know Me is a survey of Garner’s wild, extensive photographs that both have the status of autonomous works as well as documentation of her practice. Anti-materialist, most of her art objects were repurposed, recycled, or given away and lost, leaving these photographs as the central remaining elements of the work.
The exhibition will travel to Kunsthalle Zürich where it will be on view from February through May 2023.
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