HORSENS.- Horsens Kunstmuseum
is presenting the mid-career retrospective and museum debut of New York artist Elizabeth Schoettle, the artist behind PhoebeNewYork. Organized by Horsens Kunstmuseum curator Julie Horne Møller in close collaboration with the artist MY PAPER WORLD: PhoebeNewYork surveys Schoettle's well-documented journey from an introvert searching for artistic existence to the birth of PhoebeNewYork and their development. The white box walls of the Kunstmuseum in Caroline Amalie Lunden have been 'taken over' by PhoebeNewYork. Just as she does in her West Village neighborhood, PhoebeNewYork has already spread into Denmark's streets and urban spaces from Horsens to Copenhagen. MY PAPER WORLD: PhoebeNewYork opened Saturday, 21 August, kicking off the autumn season, and runs through 30 January 2022.
Møller, who has always been fascinated by street art, 'met' PhoebeNewYork on the streets of the East Village in 2018 and felt an immediate connection. "I want visitors to get a feeling of PhoebeNewYork and her big voice and her influence on the world. I want people to see what world-class art in 2021 looks like," shared Møller about what guests can expect.
The monograph museum display enables the visitor to understand and follow the narrative of Schoettle's artistic process and practice (not just another Street Art exhibition in a museum context). More than 7,000 square feet or 75% of the museum has been devoted to the mid-career retrospective. Schoettle is a prolific artist. Works in MY PAPER WORLD: PhoebeNewYork number more than 600, and dimensions span from 3.5 inches to more than 14 feet. Mediums include early photographs, illustrations, line drawings, mixed media collages, prints, wheatpaste street art, posters, and other reference material and ephemera from and about the artist. MY PAPER WORLD at Horsens Kunstmuseum presents Elizabeth Schoettle/PhoebeNewYork's creative journey over the last two decades.
In her early photography, Schoettle illustrates the germination of Phoebe / PhoebeNewYork by mixing and staging her clothes and objects laid out as 'bodies' all with different heads from a lampshade or twin bell clock to an upright vintage vacuum cleaner. Since 2004, Schoettle has worked with all forms of paper. The nature of the paper materials, like people, is impermanent. Conceived out of her mixed media collages is the subject of Schoettle's alter ego, PhoebeNewYork. "We see PhoebeNewYork from the front, back, and side. We follow her in the streets, at home, when she's happy or sad, full of confidence and when she's insecure. She speaks loudly and whispers softly. She points out the injustice of life, and she reminds us to be grateful, and face life with our heads held high," explains Møller.
Schoettle studied fashion and film, greatly influencing her career as a visual artist. Her inspiration comes from around the world; current and vintage fashion magazines, old
book covers, found objects, past album covers, and small pieces of fabric and paper that most people take for granted or think of as garbage and waste. For Schoettle, the materials have significant artistic potential, and she is aware of the implications of her sources out of context or in new contexts. She imagines them as a collaboration with those who worked with or touched these materials before she found them, making her artwork timeless. Love, relationships, New York, iconic style, pop art, and the 80s are significant to Schoettle and therefore expressed by PhoebeNewYork. Notwithstanding the medium, PhoebeNewYork presents us with the world's diversity and connects with the voices inside ourselves.
"Phoebe allows me to express what I can't in real life, and in a sense, she's become a language I rely on to represent myself." --Elizabeth Schoettle
Alongside traditional museum displays of Schoettle's work, immersive designs re-create New York's atmosphere for museum visitors. From the 22 ft high reproduction of the Brooklyn Bridge welcoming visitors on the first floor to an entire room transformed into a downtown street corner. The sounds and hums of the urban jungle envelop the visitor. Dark green 'Post No Bills' walls illuminated at night by street lights is where PhoebeNewYork's street art is being displayed side by side with works by 13 other street artists invited to exhibit with PhoebeNewYork. The artists @Ethanarmenart, @Thomasallen_nyc, @Zimad_art, @d7606, @acool55, @chrisrwk, @sacsix, @kafkaisfamous, @megzany, @wrdsmth, @voxxromana, @frank_ape, @consumerart, @c_3, and @goodluckdrycleaners are some of the artists PhoebeNewYork has met along her journey. Also on view is an excerpt from the Canobie Films documentary of Schoettle, due to release in 2021. The selection shadows Schoettle's process beginning in her studio apartment as she struggles, creates, and completes the artworks and takes to the streets in the early morning hours or the late evenings when the wheatpastes are (illegally) staged.
"My start in street art was very unexpected. I didn't know anything about street art or graffiti until I began this journey, a journey that has happily changed my entire direction as a woman and as an artist. And yet you can't question what feels right; from the first time I put Phoebe on the street, I never looked back." --Elizabeth Schoettle