Keith Edmier: The Fly, Farrah & Now An Exhibit At Bard College

Keith Edmier and Farrah Fawcett: Recasting Pygmalion

The most comprehensive exhibition to date of this celebrated American artist, Keith Edmier 1991–2007, is on view in the galleries of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, from Saturday, October 20, through Sunday, February 3, 2008.

above: keith edmier

A highlight of the exhibition is the CCS commission Bremen Towne, a full-scale recreation of Edmier’s childhood home. “Edmier’s work is always at the edge of the acceptable boundaries of artistic virtues and taste,” writes curator Tom Eccles, CCS Bard executive director, in the book that accompanies the exhibition.

Concurrently with Keith Edmier 1991–2007, the CCS Bard Hessel Museum presents, Exhibitionism: An Exhibition of Exhibitions of Works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection.

This new installation of the Hessel Collection, curated by White Columns director Matthew Higgs, presents a series of exhibitions in each of the 16 galleries in the newly inaugurated Hessel Museum.

Below are images from Bard College's press release:

And below are pics and a review from the NY Times of this very exhibit:

From left, Artist Keith Edmier's "Beverly Edmier, 1967" (1998), "Sunflower" (1996), and "A Dozen Roses" (1998) are part of the exhibition at Bard's Center for Curatorial Studies.

"With a title like an epitaph, sculptures like wax museum effigies, and a full-scale 1970s ranch-house interior, as quiet as a chapel, at its center, this career retrospective of work by Mr. Edmier, an artist who has been exhibiting in New York since 1993 and who was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, is one of the more bizarre solo shows to come along in a while. In it, exacting craftsmanship has the chill of the mortician’s art. Period kitsch and personal recollection are inseparable. Memory is both a truth serum and embalming medium."
Read The Complete Review By Holland Cotter for the NY Times here.

Above: Keith building a replica of his childhood kitchen back in October, 2007

Above: the final installation as it appears in the show, jan. 2008

“Bremen Towne”
She stands like a guardian spirit near the front door of “Bremen Towne,” the full-scale reproduction of the interior of Mr. Edmier’s childhood home commissioned by Bard for the show. It looks like a tour de force of e-bay nostalgia shopping. But the artist, using family photographs and memories as cues, made or revamped almost everything in it — from kitchen appliances, to curtains, to a carved wood figure of a hooded monk that stands like a memento mori in the middle of the living room. Characteristically, in its reconstructed version, the monk is also a portrait of the artist’s father. Photo: Chris Kendall

Above: Installation view of “Bremen Towne” (2006-07), Photo: Chris Kendall

Mr. Edmier was born in Chicago in 1967 and grew up nearby in suburban Tinley Park. He was a formidable sculptor when he was barely into his teens, cooking up clay models for masks and prosthetic devices inspired by horror and monster films. During high school he made contact with special-effects makeup artists.

In 1985, Mr. Edmier moved to Los Angeles to work on films, among them David Cronenberg’s remake of “The Fly.” He also enrolled at California Institute of the Arts, where he had a formative immersion in the neo-conceptualist and appropriation art being grouped under the label of post-modernism. His stay there was short — a year — but it directed his career goals from popular film to art and prompted a relocation to New York City in 1990.

Above: “Beverly Edmier, 1967” (1998), Photo: Andy Keate

Above: detail of Beverly Edmier

The startling sculpture called “Beverly Edmier, 1967,” is another Madonna and Child image, one that takes Mr. Edmier even further back into his past. It’s a life-size figure, cast in translucent pink plastic, of his own pregnant mother carrying him as a fetus curled up in her transparent womb. Like much of Mr. Edmier’s art, it has many referential layers that connect it with larger histories.

Beverly’s seated pose echoes that of Abraham Lincoln, another Illinois resident, in the Lincoln Memorial. And she is dressed in a facsimile of the pink Chanel suit that Jacqueline Kennedy was wearing the day her husband was assassinated.

Keith's resin study for "Beverly" (below) was just auctioned off last month
Keith Edmier, Beverly Edmier (study)

Keith Edmier
Beverly Edmier (study)
1998 -
acrylic on resin
14 x 6.8 x 9.1 in. / 35.6 x 17.2 x 23.2 cm.
Sale Of
Christie's South Kensington: Thursday, December 13, 2007
[Lot 33]
Post War & Contemporary Art

Above: “Jill Peters” (1997), Keith Edmeir

“Jill Peters” (1997) is a full-length portrait of Mr. Edmier’s grade-school sweetheart as a virginal ghost of true loves past. Cast in snow-white polyvinyl, wearing white clothes and a luxuriant pale platinum wig, and smiling as she casts her eyes upward, she is a prepubescent idol with a Farrah Fawcett ’do, St. Jill of Perpetual Uplift. Humbert Humbert would have knelt at her Earth Shoes-clad feet.
Photo: Lamay Photo

He's Friends With Farrah...

In 1977, a pinup poster of the actress in a bathing suit was a national best seller; the pre-adolescent Mr. Edmier had one on his bedroom wall. In 1998, he introduced himself to his childhood muse.

above: Farrah and Keith working on their mutual sculptures of one another.

Before she had had any thoughts of acting, Ms. Fawcett had been an art student, specializing in sculpture, at the University of Texas in Austin. Mr. Edmier invited her to return to her initial avocation and collaborate with him on a project. She accepted and, working together in a California studio, they made nude portraits of each other.

Above: Detail of Keith Edmier's piece of Farrah from a memorial in a sculptural group called “Keith Edmier and Farrah Fawcett, 2000.”

above: backside of Keith's sculpture of Farrah.

Above: And this is Farrah's sculpture of Keith from the same sculptural grouping,
Photo: Lamay Photo

A book has been published by Rizzoli on their collaboration, Keith Edmier and Farrah Fawcett: Recasting Pygmalion:

Keith Edmier and Farah Fawcett
Written by Dave Hickey
Pub Date: December 2002

Buy the book by clicking on the link below:

Keith Edmier, The space between you and me (collab w/Farah Fawcett)

Keith Edmier
The space between you and me (collab w/Farah Fawcett)
2000 - 2001
color coupler print, mntd
7.5 x 10.7 in. / 19 x 27.3 cm.
Sale Of
Phillips, de Pury & Company New York: Saturday, April 8, 2006
[Lot 260]
Saturday @ Phillips - Contemporary Art, 20-21st Century Design Art, Photographs, Jewelry

Read Rachel Taylor's profile of Mr. Edmier for Contemporary Magazine here.

“Keith Edmier 1991-2007” remains at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N. Y., (845) 758-7598, through Feb. 3.

C'mon people, it's only a dollar.