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Catherine Opie

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Catherine Opie, All-American Subversive The New Yorker

February 28 2017

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Catherine Opie on the Louis XIV Bedroom Met Museum Artist Project

June 8 2016

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L.A. HABITAT: CATHERINE OPIE ARTnews

March 4 2016

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Photographer Spotlight: Catherine Opie LA Review of Books

February 24 2016

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Catherine Opie in Conversation With Rodarte New York Times

February 16 2016

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Photos of Elizabeth Taylor’s Home Capture Its Beauty and Banality Hyperallergic

February 11 2016

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Catherine Opie's 700 Nimes Road review – LA's triple-threat shines like a diamond The Guardian

February 9 2016

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'I Do Like To Stare': Catherine Opie On Her Portraits Of Modern America NPR

February 5 2016

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Critics' Pick: Catherine Opie Artforum

January 29 2016

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David Ebony's Top 10 New York Gallery Shows This Winter Artnet

January 29 2016

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Catherine Opie, 'Portraits and Landscapes' Time Out New York

January 21 2016

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High-camp: a pair of Catherine Opie solo shows at Lehmann Maupin, NY Wallpaper Magazine

January 18 2016

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Photographer Catherine Opie Has a Pair of New Exhibitions That “Humanize Celebrity” Bedford + Bowery

January 18 2016

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Book Signing with Catherine Opie

January 16 2016

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Photographer Catherine Opie's Time is Now Wall Street Journal

January 11 2016

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Catherine Opie's New Exhibit Lets NYC Inside Elizabeth Taylor's Bedroom Gotham Magazine

January 11 2016

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12 Things to Do in New York's Art World Before January 15 New York Oberserver

January 11 2016

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This Week’s Must See Events: Bad Assery Abounds Art F City

January 11 2016

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Art & the City: 5 Hong Kong art exhibitions you can’t miss this month Lifestyle Asia

January 11 2016

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Q&A: Catherine Opie on her Diverse Body of Work ARTINFO

January 10 2016

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Personal Effects: Catherine Opie Interview Magazine

December 29 2015

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Women in Art: Catherine Opie Elle Magazine

November 30 2015

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Catherine Opie creates monumental work for Los Angeles courthouse The Art Newspaper

November 24 2015

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Catherine Opie: The provocateur who photographed Elizabeth Taylor's home CNN

November 2 2015

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Eager for a Fresh Take, Galleries Mine an Unfamiliar Side to Famous Artists New York Times

October 28 2015

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10 Things to See at Frieze London TIME

October 14 2015

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Liz, At Large W Magazine

October 13 2015

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Inside Elizabeth Taylor's Home at 700 Nimes Road Vogue

October 12 2015

Photos of Elizabeth Taylor’s Home Capture Its Beauty and Banality

Hyperallergic


Like a closed curtain at the beginning of a performance, a red, wavy material with the name “Elizabeth Taylor” emblazoned in white lettering fills the frame. This first photograph in Catherine Opie: 700 Nimes Road, on view at Lehmann Maupin, sets a dramatic tone for the rest of the exhibition.

 

The next photograph, like an opening sequence or a first scene, introduces the photographs’ subject: Elizabeth Taylor herself. Or, at least, a multifaceted representation of her through her possessions. In “Andy Warhol to Elizabeth (Self-Portrait Artist),” a photograph of one of Warhol’s “Liz” silk screens, reflects Opie as she photographs it. Opie’s silhouette is dark against gridded windows. She blends into Taylor’s hair, as if trying to insinuate herself into the actress’s mind. Warhol signed the work, and his scrawl is still legible. With this photograph, Opie acknowledges the conflating perceptions of Taylor: muse to artists, film icon, and fodder for the tabloids, until her death in 2011. Opie knows she’s working with a subject who’s been so documented and mythologized that these new photographs add just one more layer to a dense history.

 

But what a layer it is. Opie’s 50 photographs feature the interiors and belongings of Elizabeth Taylor’s home at 700 Nimes Road. Opie varies her distance from her subject: she captures full rooms, from Taylor’s impressive shoe closet to her living room; she zooms in on smaller details such as pink balloon shades, individual pieces of jewelry, Oscar statuettes, a koi pond, and handbags. Opie challenges her viewer to look more carefully as she obscures some of the objects she photographs. While she brings most of her details into sharp focus, two close-up shots of jewelry blur in a soft, old movie kind of way. Her photographs vary widely in both composition and content, enhancing the sense of her subject’s complexity. As a series, they offer an intricate, indirect portrait of a woman through the objects she owned and the spaces she inhabited.

 

Opie captures the incongruities of Taylor’s life. Kitsch and refinement, beauty and banality are all evident. A photograph of three shelves of cowboy boots hangs next to a photograph of a row of Chanel shoes. Small, white dog figurines appear throughout the series, and a shot of a cluttered bedside table features a portrait of Michael Jackson with a flower on top of the frame. The photographs convey a sense of excess — boxes of gowns, full shelves, lots of makeup tools — but also of something delicate, sacred, and personal — a yellow chiffon dress “for Richard,” a single yellow diamond ring, an intimate note from Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, addressed to Taylor, her godmother.

 

Then, as in any life, there are a few mysteries. One photograph, “Deer in Snow,” looks like a part of a larger painting that may hang somewhere in Taylor’s home. Opie, however, offers the viewer no context. Bookended by one photograph of a dresser and one of a wall of photos of Taylor and her former husband, Richard Burton, the deer become a random, comical puzzle. Same goes for the words, “The Quest for Japanese Beef,” which are scrawled in what looks like lipstick on a mirror above a vanity full of perfumes and jewelry.

 

With these photographs, Opie asks us to consider what comprises a life. What significance can we attach to the objects with which we surround ourselves? How many different ways can we tell a story about a single person? She calls for a closer examination of the stories of our possessions, both individually and as a strange, discordant, but ultimately meaningful whole.

 

Catherine Opie: 700 Nimes Road continues at Lehmann Maupin (201 Chrystie Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan) through February 20.