Don't miss your chance to view new, monumental work by legendary artist Eleanor Antin in Eleanor Antin: Time's Arrow before the exhibition closes this Sunday, July 28!
Eleanor Antin (b. 1935) is one of the most important artists of her generation and a pioneer of performance and conceptual art in Southern California. In 1972, she challenged definitions of sculpture, self-portraiture, photographic documentation, and performance with CARVING: A Traditional Sculpture. Presented as a grid of 148 photographs, the work shows the transformation of Antin’s body as she lost 10 pounds over 37 days by following a strict diet regimen; each vertical column of four photographs represents a day of her performance.
In 2017, Antin restaged her landmark piece, creating the monumental sculpture CARVING: 45 Years Later. She again documented her weight loss, producing 500 black-and-white photographs over the course of 100 days, with a fifth row added to the sequence.
For Antin, this practice is akin to that of a classical sculptor who removes one layer after another, but she manipulates her own body, rather than stone, as material. Antin was originally inspired to “carve” her body after receiving an invitation from the Whitney Museum of American Art to contribute work to its 1973 biennial survey of painting and sculpture. Antin submitted CARVING: A Traditional Sculpture, but the Whitney curators did not accept the work, suggesting that, to them, it was not sculpture but conceptual art. Since then, the work has been acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago, internationally exhibited, and widely recognized as a masterpiece.
CARVING: 45 Years Later is on view for the first time at LACMA, alongside a new self-portrait titled !!! from 2017, and a related serial work from 1972. The new CARVING draws attention not only to the artist’s physical manipulation of her body, but also to her transformation over a lifetime. Antin considers the piece to be “even more political than the earlier one... CARVING: 45 Years Later depicts my belief that the older body is to be respected and admired. After all, it made it!”
Eleanor Antin: Time's Arrow is on view in LACMA's Art of the Americas Building.