“It’s all about ME, Not You,” which the museum put on permanent display in 2009, takes the form of an astroturf-floored bedroom with painted green walls and star embellishments inscribed by a ring of neon hearts on the ceiling overhead. Portraits and crucifixes clutter the walls, while dolls occupy chairs and a standing position by a window. One ghostly white doll head emerges from a red-blanketed bed littered with pill bottles and faux flowers. The room simultaneously exudes decadence and illness, obsessive maximalism and eerie stillness.
Shortly after the Mattress Factory flew her to Pittsburgh to oversee the installation, Lankton died of an overdose (Monroe was adamant that she’d been taking a dangerous cocktail of pills to deal with the residual pain from her unwanted surgery). The messy fate of the artist’s archive has become a cautionary example of the chaos that can ensue after a creative spirit is gone. Monroe claimed that after Lankton’s death, her family threw all her old possessions—“artwork, her wedding dress, diaries, photographs”—in a dumpster. “Her house was very close to a hair salon where she hung out,” Monroe told Artsy. Someone found out about the disposal efforts, and “30 people pulled out as much as they could,” he said.