Beginning her 2012 series Nudist Museum Giftshop, Ellen Harvey searched for “nude” on Ebay and eliminated all “art.” She then created paintings that comprise, as she calls it, “a gift shop of failed objects of desire.” Oil on wood panel, Nudist Museum Giftshop: Silver Mirror with Nude Bodybuilder displays a classically-imagined figure considering his grandiose reflection, à la Narcissus. Harvey hopes her work will “seduce people into thinking,” as viewers must confront their own expectations and perceptions of art. Harvey’s work appeared at the Whitney Biennial, and she has been exhibited at S.M.A.K., the Municipal Museum for Contemporary Art in Ghent.
Signature: On verso
Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Art in General
About Ellen Harvey
Ellen Harvey produces installations, illuminated engravings, paintings, and public projects that apply a critical lens to traditional forms of artmaking, art exhibitions, and art viewership. For her New York Beautification Project (1999-2001), the British-born, Brooklyn-based artist “tagged” over the city’s graffiti with small-scale, oil paintings of landscapes, working in the “utterly uncool and unthreatening” style of the Hudson River School painters. The project, which asks viewers to consider the difference between graffiti and public art is embedded with irony—especially because Harvey, whose images could be considered acts of vandalism, is also trained as an attorney.
British , b. 1967, Kent, United Kingdom, based in Brooklyn, New York