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Ellen Gallagher

DeLuxe

2004/2005

From

DeLuxe

Artist

Ellen Gallagher (1965-)

Title

DeLuxe

Portfolio/Series

DeLuxe

Date

2004/2005

Medium

Photogravure, lithograph, etching, aquatint, drypoint, screenprint, and collage with plasticine, acrylic, pomade, laser-cutting, metal foil, opaque watercolor, oil, enamel, graphite pencil, velvet, glitter, aluminum powder, and plastic (a-hhh)

Dimensions

Overall: 84 1/4 × 175 × 1 3/4 in. (214 × 444.5 × 4.4 cm)

Edition information

1/20

Publication information

Printed and published by Two Palms

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase

Accession number

2006.340a-hhh

Object Label

For more than a year, Ellen Gallagher worked on DeLuxe, an ambitious and technically complex portfolio of sixty prints that was the focus of its own exhibition at the Whitney. The artist began by culling advertisements for, among other items, hair straightening products, wigs, and stockings from issues of black magazines from the 1930s through the 1970s, such as Ebony, Our World, Black Stars, and Sepia. She then backed them with paper and transformed them using collage methods, both excising and adding facial features and blocks of text. She subsequently turned the collages into photogravures, an old printing technique that yielded flat and seamless images. Finally, Gallagher altered the photogravures, coloring them in, shaping wigs and masks from Plasticine, and attaching adornments such as beads, rhinestones, and gold leaf. According to the artist’s specifications, DeLuxe is installed as neat grid—a nod to the modernist aesthetic whose pictorial strategies she frequently plumbs—but its components, each radically different from the next, subvert any possibility of cohesion or a singular message, despite the reappearance of certain figures and themes across the panels.