These materials trace Lankton’s artistic development from childhood, studies at Pratt Institute and exhibitions at New York’s Civilian Warfare gallery, her personal relationships, gender reassignment surgery, and struggles with addiction and anorexia
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 material. 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
Greer Lankton was an American artist whose work is autobiographical and revealing of her obsessions. Lankton’s dolls and environments possess a disarming mix of innocence and decadence, hope and pathos. She said her work was “all about me,” reflecting her life as an artist, as a transgender person and a drug addict. But beyond this, and as an outsider, Lankton eloquently explored and questioned the norms of gender and sexuality, as well as the powerful imagery of popular culture and consumerism.