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Artists on the Verge of a Breakthrough


Black Star Press: Black Star, Star Press Star (2004) by Kelley Walker, courtesy of Ellen Wilson  

Kelley Walker
Multimedia Artist
“I really don’t like the term appropriation,” says Walker, while taking a break from prepping for his current show at Greene Naftali. A collaboration with fellow “Greater New York” artist Wade Guyton, it’s an installation of coconut lights and silk-screens that borrows freely from advertisements for Ketel One vodka. “He has a rich and complicated practice he’s been developing over many years—he’s not a flash in the pan,” notes Artforum editor Tim Griffin. Despite Walker’s feelings about the A-word, his non-collaborative output (including scanned images from the Birmingham race riots, smeared with chocolate and toothpaste) is represented by Paula Cooper, a gallery known for appropriation artists. He’s also sold his art in CD files that can be manipulated with Photoshop, an enlightened approach to digital piracy. Perhaps that’s why Ketel One agreed to sponsor his book-release party.

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