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Artist Ellen Gallagher recounts her childhood obsession with projecting films, paired with documentation of her work Murmur (2003-04) installed at Gagosian Gallery in New York.More information and credits
Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera & Sound: Tom Hurwitz, Eddie Marritz, Mark Mandler, and Roger Phenix. Editor: Jenny Chiurco and Mary Ann Toman. Artwork Courtesy: Ellen Gallagher & Edgar Cleijne. Special Thanks: Gagosian Gallery, New York and Two Palms Press, New York.
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Repetition and revision are central to Ellen Gallagher’s treatment of advertisements that she appropriates from popular magazines like Ebony and Our World. Initially drawn to wig advertisements because of their grid-like structure, she later realized that it was the accompanying language that attracted her. Gallagher began to bring these “narratives” into her paintings—making them function through the characters of the advertisements, as a kind of chart of lost worlds. Although the work has often been interpreted strictly as an examination of race, Gallagher also suggests a more formal reading with respect to materials, processes, and insistences. From afar, the work appears abstract and minimal; upon closer inspection, googly eyes, reconfigured wigs, tongues, and lips of minstrel caricatures multiply in detail.