We are pleased to present 365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears (2011), a series of photographs documenting a performance by Laurel Nakadate, in which she photographed herself before, during and after weeping each day from January 1 through December 31, 2010. Three hundred sixty-five color photographs measuring 8 1/2 x 11 inches each will be installed in the main gallery. The exhibition will also include two new videos, Lost Party Guest and Poland.
During the past decade, Laurel Nakadate has become internationally known for provocative works in video, film, performance and photography. Complex and often unsettling, they challenge conventional perceptions of power, seduction, tenderness, trust, betrayal, narcissism and self-abnegation in psychosexual relationships.
While completing her MFA in photography at Yale University from 1999 to 2001, Nakadate began to create photographs and video pieces that involved interactions with older men she met through chance encounters. In these works, her relationship to the fixed single viewpoint of the camera (as both artist and subject), her insistence on simple production values, and her upending of public and private ritualistic behaviors, anticipated the amateur video aesthetic of YouTube diaries and internet blogs. Conversely, Nakadate says that the photographs in 365 Days were inspired by the "happy self-portraits people make day after day with their cell phone cameras and post on Facebook," while also dissecting the increasingly popular practice of objectifying one's interior life on line via social media sites.
In his cover story on Nakadate, published in the March 2011 issue of Modern Painters, the novelist Rick Moody writes:
This is the story on the Web, in millions upon millions of blogs, and Facebook pages, and online sites advocating activities both wholesome and dangerous. The bulk of these online photographs of strangers, these accounts of self, are bad, are awkward, dimly lit, haphazard, consumer-grade, hopeless and Nakadate plays with and against this constructed femininity.
Nakadate's performance was a disciplined, durational exercise that required her to "take part in sadness each day" during the normal course of her life. Photographs were made in her New York apartment, her childhood bedroom in Iowa, at the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, and on planes, trains and in hotel rooms in places as varied as Talinn, Estonia, and Saratoga Springs, New York.
Approximately one third of the images in the series are currently displayed as large-scale prints measuring 40 x 50 inches each, in Laurel Nakadate: Only the Lonely, a ten-year survey of photography, video and film, curated by Klaus Biesenbach, on view at MoMA PS 1 through August 8, 2011. In a recent review of the exhibition for The New York Times, Ken Johnson describes the series as "tapping into a river of grief and loneliness running under the surface of American life."
Lost Party Guest combines the simplicity of 1970s-style performance actions with the staging of the Grand Guignol. Set in the historic reception rooms of the Park Avenue Armory, the video was created with the assistance of the Art Production Fund, which is also currently sponsoring a presentation of Nakadate’s videos in their ongoing series at the Standard Hotels in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. The second video, entitled Poland, is a study of an American starlet as she sits in the front row of an awards show in Krakow. Like 365 Days, it is an exploration of the face of an individual, negotiated through pop culture and photography. Nakadate shot Poland entirely on an iPod. Working within the constraints of this consumer-grade tool, she created a series of degraded, fragile images that dissolve into colored fields as the starlet settles into her place at the helm of the event.
Laurel Nakadate was born in Austin, Texas in 1975 and raised in Ames, Iowa. She received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University in 1998 and completed her MFA at Yale University in 2001. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide and her works are in the collections of such distinguished institutions as The Museum of Modern Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Princeton University Art Museum. Nakadate has also received widespread acclaim for her two feature-length films, Stay the Same Never Change, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and The Wolf Knife, which was recently nominated for a 2010 Gotham Award and a 2011 Independent Spirit Award.
Photographs by Laurel Nakadate are also currently on view at The Museum of Modern Art in Staging Action: Performance in Photography since 1960 (through May 9).
The gallery is located on the 6th Floor at 535 West 22nd Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.