November 30, 2005

Katy Grannan, Model American

“The last time I was this uncomfortable and thrilled by a book of portraits was when I first opened Diane Arbus’s monograph thirty years ago.” Richard Misrach

(c) Katy Grannan / Aperture Foudation - All rights reserved




Model American is Katy Grannan’s first monograph, featuring seventy-five of the artist’s visually striking and voyeuristically irresistible portraits. A protégée of Gregory Crewdson, Grannan was featured in Crewdon’s seminal 1999 exhibition on emerging women photographers entitled “Another Girl, Another Planet.” Model American secures Grannan’s status as one of the art world’s biggest new stars.

In Model American, Grannan’s portraits capture the intense relationship between photographer and model as well as the desire of the subject to offer him or herself up to the camera lens. She initially recruits her subjects through placing ads in local newspapers: “Art Models. Artist/Photographer (female) seeks people for portraits. No experience necessary. Leave msg.” After an initial telephone conversation, artist and model meet for a photo shoot. With subjects centrally framed and directly facing the camera, each image resonates with the tension of a first encounter.

Model American provides a survey of the artist’s key series, from “Poughkeepsie Journal” to “Mystic Lake,” revealing an incredible trajectory from Grannan’s early work to her most recent series. Grannan, at first, photographed her subjects in their own domestic settings, but has recently moved outside to public spaces, such as municipal parks near her subjects’ homes, lending these images a hint of danger while never losing their sense of delicacy and intimacy. The latest work is extremely charged and ever-so-slightly disconcerting. The underlying theme running throughout the overall body of work is that in a world of voyeurism, reality television, and celebrity culture, everyone wants to be a star.

Katy Grannan was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, in 1969. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1991 and her M.F.A. from Yale University in 1999. Her work has been featured in multiple group exhibitions; she was one of four photographers selected for the Whitney Biennial 2004. Solo exhibitions of her Grannan’s work have been shown at Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art in New York (2000 and 2003) and others. She recently received the 2004 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, the Theater Gallery of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2004). Grannan is represented by Greenberg Van Doren Gallery in New York and is newly represented by the Jeffrey Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. She lives in New York City and San Francisco.

Jan Avgikos is a contributing editor at Artforum. Her essays and reviews appear regularly in Parkett and Flash Art, among other international publications. She has written essays for catalogs of work by John Baldessari, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Marina Abramovic, and Cindy Sherman. She has also written extensively on contemporary artists Jack Pierson and Anna Gaskell, among others, and lectures widely on contemporary art.

Model American
Photographs by Katy Grannan
Essay by Jan Avgikos

Published by Aperture
November 2005
9 7/8 x 11 1/2 in.
120 pages
75 four-color and duotone images
ISBN 1-931788-81-2
$40.00, £22.00

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