"I still think the social function of art is that kind of negative aesthetic. Otherwise there’s no social function for it."
From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 3 (2005)
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Working with vintage magazines, Ellen Gallagher explores both the representation of ethnicity and the essential nature of identity. In a series of large paintings, she mounts page after page in a grid so that the viewer relates to the magazines in a spatial rather than a sequential way. “I’m collecting advertisements and stories and characters,” she says. “And I see them as conscripts in the sense that they come into my lexicon without me asking them permission.” Using an intricate printmaking process to engrave an image of Isaac Hayes, Gallagher comments“I think there is a nostalgia in my gathering of this material...yet in that gesture you’re continually moving forward and continually seeing the world.”