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Celebrity

"Everything came together: race, celebrity, beauty, wealth, perjury, tape recordings, the chase of the car, the media focus. It was the perfect storm." —Alan Dershowitz, Lawyer, O.J. Simpson Defense Team, FRONTLINE: The O.J. Verdict (2005)

The explosion of media in the 21st century has brought “the stars” down to earth, into our homes, and onto our own personal screens. Artists have engaged this phenomena head-on: casting actors in films, retouching sport spectaculars, comparing public figures to fictional characters, and exploring persona during the dawn of YouTube and reality television.

Artists featured in this slideshow:

Hiroshi Sugimoto (Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 3, Episode: Memory)

Central to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work is the idea that photography is a time machine, a method of preserving and picturing memory and time. He uses his camera in a myriad of ways to create images that seem to convey his subjects’ essence, whether architectural, sculptural, painterly, or of the natural world.

Laurie Simmons (Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 4, Episode: Romance)

Laurie Simmons stages photographs and films with paper dolls, finger puppets, ventriloquist dummies, and costumed dancers as “living objects,” animating a dollhouse world suffused with nostalgia and colored by an adult’s memories and longings. For her feature film The Music of Regret, Simmons cast actress Meryl Streep to play a puppet come-to-life, uncannily modeled after the artist herself.

Paul Pfeiffer (Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 3, Episode: Time)

In a series of video works focused on professional sports events, Paul Pfeiffer digitally alters elements from the games, shifting the viewer’s focus to the spectators, sports equipment, or trophies won. These intimate and idealized video works are meditations on faith, desire, and a contemporary culture obsessed with celebrity.

Paul McCarthy (Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 5, Episode: Transformation)

Paul McCarthy's works lampoon authority and bombard the viewer with sensory overload. Whether conflating real-world political figures with fantastical characters or treating erotic and abject content with frivolity and charm, McCarthy's work confuses codes, mixes high and low culture, and provokes an analysis of fundamental beliefs.

Oliver Herring (Art in the Twenty-First Century Season 3, Episode: Play)

Oliver Herring creates participatory performances with ‘off-the-street’ strangers. Open-ended and impromptu, Herring’s works have a dreamlike stream-of-consciousness quality; each progresses towards a finale that is unexpected or unpredictable. Embracing chance and chance encounters, his videos and performances liberate participants to explore aspects of their personalities through art.

IMAGES (in order of appearance): Hiroshi Sugimoto; Diana, Princess of Wales, 1999; Gelatin-silver print; Image size: 58 3/4 x 47 inches; frame size: 71 x 60 inches; Edition of 5; Courtesy the Artist. Laurie Simmons; The Music of Regret (Meryl), 2006; Flex print, 40 x 40 inches; © Laurie Simmons, courtesy the artist and Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York. Laurie Simmons; The Music of Regret (Act II), 2006; 35 mm film, 40 minutes; Directed by Laurie Simmons; Music, Michael Rohatyn; Camera, Ed Lachman ASC; with Meryl Streep, Adam Guettel, and the Alvin Ailey II Dancers; © Laurie Simmons, courtesy the artist, Salon 94, and Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York. Paul Pfeiffer; Race Riot, 2001; Digital video loop, digital camcorder, and wood, glass, and linen vitrine; Image size: 1 1/2 x 2 inches; vitrine: 20 x 20 x 22 inches; Edition of 6, AP of 1; Photo by Erma Eastwick; Courtesy the artist and The Project, New York and Los Angeles. Paul Pfeiffer; Race Riot, detail, 2001; Digital video loop, digital camcorder, and wood, glass, and linen vitrine; Image size: 1 1/2 x 2 inches; vitrine: 20 x 20 x 22 inches; Edition of 6, AP of 1; Photo by Erma Eastwick; Courtesy the artist and The Project, New York and Los Angeles. Paul Pfeiffer; Corner Piece, 2002; Digital video loop with sound, dimensions variable; Courtesy the artist and The Project, New York and Los Angeles. Paul Pfeiffer; Four Horseman of the Apocalypse (7), 2001; Digital duraflex print, 48 x 60 inches; Edition of 6, AP of 1; Courtesy the artist and The Project, New York and Los Angeles. Paul McCarthy; Piccadilly Circus, 2003; Performance, video, installation, and photographs, dimensions variable; Performance, video, and installation at Hauser & Wirth, Zürich and London; © Paul McCarthy. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zürich London. Paul McCarthy; Piccadilly Circus, 2003; Performance, video, installation, and photographs, dimensions variable; Performance, video, and installation at Hauser & Wirth, Zürich and London; © Paul McCarthy. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zürich London. Paul McCarthy; White Head Bush Head, 2007; Vinyl-coated nylon fabric, fans, and rigging, 299 1/4 x 360 1/4 inches; Installation view at Foundation The Hague Sculpture, The Hague, Netherlands; Photo by Gerrit Schreurs; © Paul McCarthy. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth, Zürich London. Oliver Herring, THE DAY I PERSUADED TWO BROTHERS TO TURN THEIR BACKYARD INTO A MUD POOL, inside page, 2004; Color inkjet prints on Kitakawa paper with base, 4 1/4 x 28 x 33 inches; Edition of 10 with 2 AP; Originally commissioned by Artpace, San Antonio; Courtesy Max Protetch Gallery, New York. Oliver Herring; The Sum and Its Parts, 2000; Total running time: 10 minutes, 35 seconds, looped; Edition of 10 with 2 AP’s; Courtesy Max Protetch Gallery, New York. Oliver Herring; SHANE AFTER HOURS OF SPITTING FOOD DYE INDOORS, 2004; C-print, 41 1/2 x 62 1/2 inches framed; Edition of 5 with 2 Artist Prints; Originally commissioned by Artpace San Antonio; Courtesy Max Protetch Gallery, New York. Oliver Herring; CHRIS AFTER HOURS OF SPITTING FOOD DYE OUTDOORS, 2004; C-print, 41 1/2 x 62 1/2 inches framed; Edition of 5 with 2 Artist Prints; Originally commissioned by Artpace San Antonio; Courtesy Max Protetch Gallery, New York.

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