It's all about ME, Not You (1996)
wood, vinyl siding, Astroturf, paint, artwork
500 Sampsonia Way, 3rd Floor
Greer Lankton's It's all about ME, Not You was first shown in 1996. Unfortunately, Greer passed away after the exhibit opening and when the show closed, the piece was placed in storage. Now, thanks to the generosity of the Lankton family, it has been donated to the Mattress Factory for permanent display.
Open a tall door and pass through a narrow alley beside a "white trash" house. It is clad in white siding with old windows and an astroturf patio littered with fall leaves. Inside, Lankton recreated the Chicago apartment where she lived and worked. The walls are painted in deep colors. Stars cover the ceiling. The room is inhabited by the dolls and figures Lankton made during the course of her life – Raggedy Anns, one of whom is anorexic, a morphine addict on a cot surrounded by pill bottles.
Throughout the room are very personal shrines Lankton has created: to Patti Smith, Candy Darling, Jesus, to the artist herself, and many others. Several of Lankton's figures were included in the 1995 Whitney Biennial and the 1995 Venice Biennale, but she never before had the opportunity to create a large-scale installation.
Much of her work is clearly autobiographical, revealing her obsession with her own body. Born male, she became female at the age of 21. Her work has been described by critic Holland Cotter as "art of superbly disciplined and unusually distressing beauty."
Lankton wanted to recreate her apartment in an ideal form, designing an environment of "artificial nature/total indulgence," filled with "dolls engrossed in glamour and self-abuse."
Like the artist herself, Lankton's dolls and environments possess a disarming mix of innocence and decadence, hope and pathos. She said her work was "all about me," reflecting her life as an artist, a transsexual and a drug addict. But beyond this, from her position as an outsider, Lankton eloquently explored and questioned accepted norms of gender and sexuality, as well as the powerful imagery of popular culture and consumerism.
It is tempting to think that Lankton knew her installation at the Mattress Factory was her last, filling the space with a retrospective selection of her beloved dolls and everything that was most meaningful to her.