Blow-Up Cardboard Couture, 2018

Wayne Koestenbaum

Blow-Up Cardboard Couture, 2018
Acrylic, acrylic marker, tile, cardboard, string, felt, magazine paper, and canvas on cardboard
17 x 10 in

Already an acclaimed poet and critic, Wayne Koestenbaum began painting in 2010, and since then has become a prolific visual artist, producing an abundance of work in painting, drawing, collage, assemblage, video, and performance. His paintings and drawings are often obliquely or explicitly figurative, though in many cases he uses a self-concocted visual vocabulary of codes, signs, hieroglyphs, geometric forms, squiggles, lines, and other wandering marks that seem to reach toward situations and scenes and human figures, but remain dreamily ensconced in a world of fable and phantasmagoria. Using bold lines, bright colors, syncopated shapes, and precise yet carnivalesque compositional strategies, his paintings and drawings propose an expressionistic, exuberant, and utopian attitude toward art’s continuing viability as an agent of irrepressible pleasure.

Wayne Koestenbaum—poet, critic, novelist, artist, filmmaker, performer—has published 22 books, including Ultramarine, The Cheerful Scapegoat, Figure It Out, Camp Marmalade, My 1980s & Other Essays, The Anatomy of Harpo Marx, Humiliation, Hotel Theory, Circus, Andy Warhol, Jackie Under My Skin, and The Queen’s Throat (nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award). He has exhibited his paintings in solo shows at White Columns, 356 Mission, and the University of Kentucky Art Museum, as well as in many group shows, including at Essex Flowers, Gordon Robichaux, Klaus von Nichtssagend, Yossi Milo Gallery, FIERMAN, Jeff Bailey Gallery, Geoffrey Young Gallery, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. His first piano/vocal record, Lounge Act, was released by Ugly Duckling Presse Records in 2017; he has given musical performances of improvisatory Sprechstimme soliloquies at The Kitchen, REDCAT, Centre Pompidou, The Walker Art Center, The Artist’s Institute, the Renaissance Society, the Hammer Museum, and The Poetry Project. His first feature-length film, The Collective, premiered at UnionDocs (New York) in 2021. In 2020 he received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library acquired his literary archive in 2019. He is a Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

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