Sunday, October 7, 2007
Laurel Nakadate was born in Austin, Texas in 1975. She attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and graduated from Yale's MFA program in photography in 2001. Originally working as a still photographer, she was selected as one of "25 under 25" in the seminal 2000 book and show of that name. Since then she has worked primarily in video. Her first video installation, "I Wanna Be Your Mid-Life Crisis", was one of the highlights of the 2002 Armory Show where it was exhibited by the Daniel Silverstein Gallery.
Nakadate's 2005 solo show at Danziger Projects, "Love Hotel and Other Stories," was featured in The New York Times, the Village Voice and FlashArt. Art critic, Jerry Saltz named her a "standout" in the 2005's "Greater New York" show at P.S.1.
Whatever Laurel Wants
by Jerry Saltz
Laurel Nakadate, "Love Hotel and Other stories," Apr. 9-May 14, 2005, at Danziger Projects, 521 West 26th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001.
On the planet Heterosexual there is a race of men who lack the ability to seduce women and whom women never attempt to seduce. Their numbers are unknown, although, in some metaphysical way, all males may carry their recessive gene. Nevertheless, these men make feeble, sometimes touching, often offensive, but always failed attempts to lure women to them. Typically, these women are much younger than they are.
Enter artist Laurel Nakadate, the half-Japanese 29-year-old 2001 Yale MFA photography graduate and standout in the current "Greater New York" exhibition. Nakadate puts herself into a position to encounter these men, allowing herself to be partially drawn into the webs they hope to weave. They "hit on" her, then she strikes like a trap-door spider, responding with her own counter-proposal. Arranging to go to their apartments or elsewhere, she arrives with a video camera and convinces them to enact strangely suggestive but asexual scenarios with her. ... Continued
Michael O'Sullivan at the Post :
Nakadate is similarly unafraid of the dark, but in a way that's more troubling. In photographs and videos, the artist documents episodes of semi-public striptease, most notably in front of the window of a moving train's sleeper car, from which she also tosses -- and then photographs -- her panties. At times evoking the abusive aesthetic of kiddie porn, at others the joyless rote of pay-per-view peep shows, this body of work, bundled under the name "Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind," is almost sickening in its soul-deadness.
A mix of voyeurism and exhibitionism, naiveté and hard-eyed self-appraisal, cool cynicism and sexual heat, Nakadate's cutting-edge art is meant to get under your skin, and it does. That she offers no easy antidote for -- or even any convincing argument that she's fully aware of -- its toxic effects on the viewer is both the source of its problematic nature, and its undeniable power.