From Publishers Weekly
It's fitting that Peyton's first major show was in room 828 of Manhattan's fabled Chelsea Hotel, whose residents have included everyone from Thomas Wolfe to Sid Vicious. Her portraits—whether of Edwardian poet Rupert Brooke, Prince Harry or her friends—seem to emerge from the same timeless, eternal bohemia that the hotel exemplifies. The portraits recorded in this lavish volume—small, and painted with an offhand casualness that doesn't quite conceal a formidable technique—are idealized and emotional rather than "warts and all" realistic. Her Kurt Cobain more closely resembles a Renaissance cherub (by way of Walter Keane) than the ravaged child of his videos and photographs; her young Queen Elizabeth is creamy and serene, with none of the real subject's characteristic wariness. But Peyton's art is about emotional truth and visual intensity. If the book has a fault it is a certain sameness and repetition: Peyton's work hasn't developed all that much since the Chelsea Hotel show of 1993, and what in a gallery might surprise and refresh becomes, over the course of 200 pages, cloying. Peyton's achievement is, nonetheless, impressive: she has helped return the painted portrait to the mainstream discourse of American art. (Nov.)
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About the Author
Elizabeth Peyton was born in Danbury, Connecticut and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her work is regularly exhibited at galleries around the world, and is in the collections of some of the world's finest museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Matthew Higgs is Director of White Columns in New York and a regular contributor to Frieze and Artforum. Steve Lafreniere is a regular contributor to Index and Artforum.