October 14, 2001–January 20, 2002
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents works by British artist Jessica Craig-Martin, whose photographs document parties of the rich and famous. From a benefit in Cannes to society parties in the Hamptons, Craig-Martin's crisp, oversize images capture the follies of the glamorous life, focusing on unedited details and awkward exchanges. Cropped to protect the subject's identity, each photograph becomes a garish still life that permits a close study of glossy, bleached hair, bulbous breasts, and heavy jewels—all the raw materials for society's jet set. This exhibition is curated by P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss and Chief Curator Klaus Biesenbach.
Craig-Martin's work reveals the gap between the set-up shots printed in "society pages" and the reality behind the camera. As a photographer for American Vogue and Vanity Fair, she has access to a rarefied world that, as seen through her lens, is perhaps as full of folly and bad manners as a high school cafeteria.
While closely observing the lives of VIPs has become a favorite national pastime and voyeurism almost an obsession, these images juxtapose familiarity with suspicious ambiguity. Unlike traditional event photographers, Craig-Martin uses her camera surreptitiously, breaking down myths of wealth and beauty that propel fashion photography and sustain the beauty industry.
Jessica Craig-Martin's work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Index, and I-D. Her solo exhibitions include: Galleria Maze, Turin (2001); Dorothe de Pauw Gallery, Brussels (2001); Colette, Paris (2000); and Maureen Paley Interim Art, London (1999). Group exhibitions include I am a Camera, The Saatchi Collection, London; Greater New York 2000, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center; Party Pictures: From Studio 54 to Cannes 2000, Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art, New York; superpredators, CRP, New York; Innuendo, Dee Glasoe, New York; and Sentimental Education, Deitch Projects, New York.