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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Greer Lankton

A Selection from the Greer Lankton Archive of the Mattress Factory, 1975 – 1996

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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In July 2014, Greer Lankton’s family donated to the Mattress Factory a gift of art, personal papers, photographs, and related material, which they had saved throughout her life and which they had recovered after her death in 1996. An unfiltered view into the life and work of one of the most significant artists to have taken part in the revolutionary art scene in New York City’s East Village during the 1980s, the collection of thousands of items includes drawings and paintings, sculptures, sketchbooks, photographs, correspondence, personal journals, press clippings and more. These materials trace Lankton’s artistic development from childhood, studies at Pratt Institute, and exhibitions at downtown New York’s Civilian Warfare gallery, as well as her personal relationships (including those with artists such as Nan Goldin), gender reassignment surgery, and struggles with addiction and anorexia.

The very first selection of material from the archive is now on view at the Mattress Factory, displayed adjacent to Lankton’s 1996 Mattress Factory Installation, It’s all about ME, Not You. The focuses of this selection include two-dimensional artworks (which can be seen in relationship to the “dolls” inhabiting her installation – the works for which she is best known), and a range of two-dimensional archival materials. There are still many areas on which to focus, and there is still much to be discovered. The exciting process of viewing and identifying all of the material in the archive has only just begun.

Lankton’s installation It’s all about ME, Not You, along with the 2014 gift of art and archival material, comprise the largest concentration of the artist’s work and related material anywhere. The rich collection allows for new study, interpretation, and appreciation of Lankton’s work and the artistic environments in which she participated.

Curated by Margery King

When

2017

About The Artist

Greer Lankton (1958 – 1996) was one of the most significant artists to have taken part in the revolutionary art scene of New York City’s East Village during the 1980s. Lanton grew up in Park Forest, IL, where she graduated a year early from high school to attend the Art Institute of Chicago from 1975 to1978. That year she moved to New York City and received her BFA from Pratt Institute in 1981. By then Lankton had secured her reputation as a leading figure in the social ferment of NYC in the 1980s through her visceral doll sculpture, and now lesser-known performances and minimalist soft sculpture. Lankton’s drawings are frequently compared to that of the expressionist Egon Schiele and her dolls and their photographic portraits, to that of surrealist Hans Bellmer. Yet her experimental and multimedia work are located within a history of transfeminism, avant-garde performance and even pop-art, while at the same time is equally situated within a neo-punk canon and the Trash Trilogy of John Waters films - Pink Flamingos being her favorite. Lankton’s exhibitions and performances included those at PS1, Club 57, Pyramid Club, Franklyn Furnace, Civilian Warfare Gallery, Hal Bromm and the Whitney Biennale, NYC. She also exhibited across the US and Europe, including the UK, Austria and the Venice Biennale, Italy. She exhibited her first full-scale installation artwork at the Mattress Factory Museum shortly before her untimely death in 1996.

In July 2014, Greer Lankton’s family donated to the Mattress Factory a gift of art, personal papers, photographs, and related material, which they had saved throughout her life and which they had recovered after her death in 1996. An unfiltered view into the life and work of one of the most significant artists to have taken part in the revolutionary art scene in New York City’s East Village during the 1980s, the collection of thousands of items includes drawings and paintings, sculptures, sketchbooks, photographs, correspondence, personal journals, press clippings and more. These materials trace Lankton’s artistic development from childhood, studies at Pratt Institute, and exhibitions at downtown New York’s Civilian Warfare gallery, as well as her personal relationships (including those with artists such as Nan Goldin), gender reassignment surgery, and struggles with addiction and anorexia.

The very first selection of material from the archive is now on view at the Mattress Factory, displayed adjacent to Lankton’s 1996 Mattress Factory Installation, It’s all about ME, Not You. The focuses of this selection include two-dimensional artworks (which can be seen in relationship to the “dolls” inhabiting her installation – the works for which she is best known), and a range of two-dimensional archival materials. There are still many areas on which to focus, and there is still much to be discovered. The exciting process of viewing and identifying all of the material in the archive has only just begun.

Lankton’s installation It’s all about ME, Not You, along with the 2014 gift of art and archival material, comprise the largest concentration of the artist’s work and related material anywhere. The rich collection allows for new study, interpretation, and appreciation of Lankton’s work and the artistic environments in which she participated.

Curated by Margery King

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