The life of Warhol Superstar Ivy Nicholson and her family are the subjects of this exhibition of photographs by Conrad Ventur. Nicholson grew up in 30s Brooklyn, became a top model and fashion icon in the Paris of the 50s, and was a core member of Warhol’s Factory entourage in the 60s. More recently, she’s lived hand-to-mouth, moving often, sometimes homeless. Through the collaboration between Nicholson and Ventur, the former Superstar has again become a muse to an artist, and she relishes her return to the limelight. She presents herself, her twins Gunther and Penelope, and her daily routine, through venues, vignettes, and styling.
Ventur’s ongoing project of re-capturing the Warhol Superstars as they are now has resulted in unblinking and lyrical portraits of some of the most fascinating personalities of the 60’s and 70’s: Taylor Mead, Billy Name, and Mario Montez, for example. In each case, the project has followed the pace of a sensitive duet in which Ventur allows for conceptual flexibility that shares the balance of creativity between photographer and subject—allowing for the otherness and signature aesthetic choices of both to emerge through the works. The Superstars were proto-reality stars who cultivated oversize gestures and cliché, seeking to both live a contrived drama and a natural life simultaneously. Ventur deftly manages to capture the authentic individuals and their fabricated existences in his photographs.
Conrad Ventur is an artist working in photography, video, and installation. Since 2000, Ventur has consistently taken immensely personal and instinctive photographs of his subjects – often those under threat of being forgotten or rewritten over time. The artist’s working process mirrors that of an ethnographer; immersing himself within these relationships for extended periods, Ventur’s photographs reveal an intimacy and trust, and are ultimately personal documents of both the subject and the artist. Ventur’s work has been exhibited at The Andy Warhol Museum, MoMA PS1, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and PARTICIPANT INC.
Will Corwin is an independent curator and sculptor based in New York. He recently curated the exhibition “Devotion” at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery and “Cyborg” at Zurcher Gallery, both in New York, the 2015 Lumen Video Art Festival in Staten Island at Snug Harbor, and “I, Cyborg” at Gazelli Art House in London. He also produced and directed “La Dolce Vita” a video magazine project for the fall 2015 issue of ArtCore Journal (based in Kansas City) a series of 8 short video vignettes of collaborations between artists and artist cooperatives including Joyce Pensato, Roxy Paine, Xaviera Simmons, Paul Anthony Smith, Mike Ballou, Gallery Aferro, Flux Factory, and many others. He writes for Frieze Magazine, Art Papers Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, BOMB Magazine Online, and has a monthly interview program on Clocktower Radio.
Ultimately, the portraits don’t obsess about her history, her stardom, or her choices. Ventur presents a multi-faceted and unique portrait of a human being. -Emily Manning
Ivy Nicholson has been on the cover of ‘Vogue,’ starred in Andy Warhol’s Factory films, had her portrait painted by Salvador Dalí, and lived on the streets of Los Angeles. Photographer Conrad Ventur celebrates her stranger-than-fiction life with ‘Ivy,’ a new exhibition of images.
Full article at i-d.vice.com
For Warhol’s aging Superstars, underground-legend status doesn’t pay the bills. Ivy Nicholson—the gorgeous, angular, eccentric Brooklyn-born fashion model and actress of the 1950s who became a Factory regular in the ’60s—has spent her golden years in poverty. Conrad Ventur’s seductive and unsettling color photographs (all works cited, 2010–14) show her still glamorous, with winged black eyeliner and a henna-red fringed hairstyle, uncannily photogenic even in difficult circumstances. ArtForum’s Critics Pick