In 1874, the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron went to work on a series of photographic illustrations for Alfred Tennyson’s Arthurian series of poems, Idylls of the King. Cameron was neighbors with Tennyson on the Isle of Wight, and often enlisted him to sit for her. Cameron once complained, “I want to do a large photograph of Tennyson, and he objects! Says I make bags under his eyes.” In one picture, now one of the indelible images of the poet, Tennyson, outfitted in monastic robes, appears reflective, pious, and in need of a nap. Tennyson dubbed the photograph “The Dirty Monk.”
In 1957, Richard Avedon was contracted to photograph the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The media savvy couple arrived at Avedon’s studio prepared for a stock photo shoot. Knowing they were avid pug lovers (they kept several– Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Chu, Trooper, Imp, Davy Crockett) Avedon, intent on disrupting their carefully composed media face, told them that on his way over his taxi had run over a dog. While they winced in horror he snapped the now famous picture.
In 1984, Don Bachardy painted the official gubernatorial portrait of Jerry Brown. One legislator described the work as looking like it was painted with “spilled ketchup and soy sauce.” The portrait proved so unpopular that it was moved to a third floor landing in the state capitol building, far from the other official portraits. Bachardy was unfazed, saying that "if you saw some of the paintings hanging in the Capitol, you'd see why I am not at all insulted that my portrait of Brown is not among them." Brown himself remarked that the painting looked unfinished and therefore was a reflection of his unfinished work while in office.
John Currin (b. 1962) lives and works in New York. Currin’s museum exhibitions include “John Currin meets Cornelis van Haarlem,” Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands, 2011–12; “John Currin,” DHC/ART, Montreal, 2011; “John Currin,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 2003, traveled to Serpentine Gallery, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; “John Currin: Works on Paper,” Des Moines Art Center, 2003, traveled to Aspen Art Museum.
George Condo (b. 1957) lives and works in New York. He has exhibited extensively in major international institutions, such as the Venice Biennale, 2013; The Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 2013; Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2012; Hayward Gallery, London, 2012; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2011; New Museum, New York, 2011; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2010; Musée Maillol, Paris, 2009; DESTE Foundation, Athens, 2007; and The Wrong Gallery at Tate Modern, London, 2006.
Chris Johanson (b. 1968) lives and works in Los Angeles. Johanson has exhibited widely in museums and galleries internationally including MOCA Pacific Design Center, 2013; the Malmö Konsthall, 2011; Portland Art Museum, 2007; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2003; and the UCLA Hammer Museum, 2001. His notable group exhibitions include Fertile Ground, Oakland Museum 2014; Energy That is All Around, Walter and McBean Galleries, SFAI, and Grey Art Gallery, NYU, 2014; Dialogue of Hands, Glasgow International 2012; A New York Minute, Depart Foundation, Rome, Italy; the 2006 Berlin Biennale, Germany; the 2005 Istanbul Biennial, Turkey; Monuments for the USA, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Beautiful Losers: Contemporary At and Street Culture, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati and Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (b. 1977) lives and works in London. Yiadom-Boakye has had several important solo museum shows, most recently at the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, as the winner of the Future Generation Art Prize; 32 Edgewood Gallery at the Yale School of Art, 2014; the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 2013; Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2012 and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2011. Yiadom- Boakye will have a solo show at Haus der Kunst in Munich in October 2015, and is currently included in the Sharjah Biennial 12: The past, the present, and the possible, 2015. Other group exhibitions include The Encyclopedic Palace, The Central Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2013; The Ungovernables: 2012 New Museum Triennial, New Museum, New York, 2012; 11th Lyon Biennial of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France, 2012; and the 7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea, 2008. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.
Emily Wardill (b. 1977) lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal. Recent solo exhibitions include STANDARD (Oslo), Index, Stockholm; The Collection Lincoln and Usher Gallery, Lincoln; Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, Rugby; La Loge, Brussels; Kunsthalle Lissabon, Portugal; The Showroom Gallery, London; Spacex, Exeter; Carlier/Gebauer, Berlin; Altman-Siegel, San Francisco; de Appel, Amsterdam; London and Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London; with a forthcoming exhibition at Bergen Kunsthalle, Bergen, Norway. Her works have also been included in group exhibitions at the Sydney Biennial, Sydney; Tate Britain, London; Witte de With, Rotterdam; MUMOK, Vienna; and MOCA, Miami.
Tony Buba (b. 1944) has made over twenty films exploring working-class issues in and around his hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. Buba began his career with The Braddock Chronicles, a dozen short documentary portraits of the stubborn signs of life in a dying mill town. Buba's work has been showcased in one-person shows at The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Carnegie Museum of Art and more than 100 museums and universities. His awards include fellowships from the NEA, AFI, and the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, and grants from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
Jem Cohen (b. 1962) is a New York-based filmmaker. Cohen's feature-length films include Museum Hours, Chain, Benjamin Smoke, Instrument, and Evening's Civil Twilight in Empires of Tin. Shorts include Lost Book Found, Amber City, Little Flags, and Anne Truitt – Working. His films are in the collections of NYC's Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum and have been broadcast by PBS, Arte, and the Sundance Channel. He has had retrospectives at London's Whitechapel, NFT, BAFICI, Oberhausen, Gijon, and Spain's Punto de Vista. Recent projects include the Gravity Hill Newsreels (about Occupy Wall Street) and We Have an Anchor, a portrait of Cape Breton. He has collaborated with musicians including Fugazi, Patti Smith, Terry Riley, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Gil Shaham/Orpheus Orchestra, R.E.M., Vic Chesnutt, and the Ex, as well as writer Luc Sante.
Kevin Jerome Everson (b.1965) lives and works in Charlottesville, Virginia where he is Professor of Art at the University of Virginia. Everson has been the subject of mid-career retrospectives at Visions du Reel, Nyon Switzerland, 2012; The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2011; and Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2009. His work has been featured at the 2008 and 2012 Whitney Biennials, and the 2012 Sharjah Biennial. Recent and upcoming solo and group museum exhibitions include SECCA (Southeastern Center for the Arts) Winston-Salem, NC; the Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA; and MOCA, Cleveland, OH. His films have screened widely at film festivals including Sundance, Toronto, Rotterdam, Berlin, and Ann Arbor. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Alpert Award.
Liz Magic Laser (b. 1981) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Most recently, Laser was the subject of solo exhibitions at Various Small Fires, Los Angeles; Paula Cooper Gallery, NY; the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany; DiverseWorks, Houston, TX; and Malmö Konsthall, Sweden. Her work has also been exhibited at Lisson Gallery, London, UK; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art; the Performa 11 Biennial, NY; The Pace Gallery, NY; the Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia; and MoMA PS1, NY.
Saul Levine (b. 1943) is widely considered the master of small gauge (8mm) filmmaking in America, though he also works with 16mm, video, sound, and performance art. Levine began making films in the 1960s, and has since made over 80 films and videos. He has screened throughout the United States and Europe and been featured in solo shows at the New York and Rotterdam Film Festivals. In addition, he is also an influential educator at MassArt, where he has taught for over 30 years, and programmer at MassArt Film Society. He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with Stan Brakhage.
Joan Logue (b. 1942) lives and works in New York. Her works have been widely broadcast and exhibited at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; International Center of Photography, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Videonale Bonn; and Second Bank of the United States (Portrait Gallery), Philadelphia. She received a BFA and an MA from St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. Logue, who was one of the founders of the video program at the American Film Institute, has also taught at California Institute of the Arts, UCLA, and Otis/Parsons.
Anne McGuire (b. 1970) lives and works in San Francisco. McGuire has exhibited her videos, performance, and artworks at such institutions as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Los Angeles Film Forum; The Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Chisenhale Gallery, London; The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive; The Art Institute of Chicago; and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Her videos have screened in the New York International Film Festival; Toronto International Film Festival; New York Underground Film Festival; Chicago Underground Film Festival; and the Melbourne International Film Festival, among many others.