Work by Sandy Skoglund now on view at Janet Borden, Inc. in The Outtakes

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Work by Sandy Skoglund now on view at Janet Borden, Inc. in The Outtakes
Sandy Skoglund, The Conversation Hires RGB, 1992. Photo courtesy of Janet Borden, Inc.

BROOKLYN, NY.- Janet Borden, Inc. has now opened SANDY SKOGLUND: THE OUTTAKES, an exhibition of twelve new photographs by renowned artist Sandy Skoglund. This is the gallery’s seventh exhibi- tion with Skoglund. For The Outtakes, Skoglund plumbed her archives to pick out alternative images to those used in her tableaux. These works are a fresh view of her magical world before Photoshop. Twelve pho- tographs represent her original installations, and four sculptures enliven the exhibition. The new prints are are smaller than the earlier pieces, their information somehow distilled. The entire exhibition serves as a retrospective historical survey of Skoglund’s work.

Sandy Skoglund is a renowned American installation artist and photographer best known for her fantastical and brightly colored tableaux from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000’s. Skoglund composed elaborate sets, creating surrealist scenes, where an accumulation of props, sculptural elements, and models, made fascinating and strange images. A vague sense of nature gone awry pervades the pieces. The conceptual nature of her work is sometimes forgotten in the sheer technical bravado of the production.

As Skoglund writes:

Everyone has outtakes. They are the things you leave behind when you have to make choices. They might be old clothes, old habits, anything discarded or rejected. My outtakes usually get banished to the trash, but they also hide out of sight in storage.

In March 2020, the Global Covid Pandemic came hard and fast. Everything was normal until, well, finally it wasn't. The stress of future deadlines was cancelled. The world was postponed in- definitely. Unstructured days and weeks stretched before me in a vast open sea of uncertainty.

In quarantine, there was time to straighten up my studio. Waiting to be organized were countless boxes in the classic yellow of the Kodak Company. They had notes going back to 1978, with pro- cessing instructions for photo labs now extinct. Inside were stacks of 4" x 5" and 8" x 10" trans- parencies that had not been touched for at least twenty years.

Inevitably, I came across the rejects that were deemed mistakes back in the day. I remembered them vaguely. But with new eyes, I no longer agreed. In a jarring way, it felt as if what was wrong might now be right.

Sandy Skoglund was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1946. She received her BA from Smith Col- lege in 1968, and her MA and MFA from University of Iowa in 1972. Her first installation photograph, Radioactive Cats, is the defining image of tableau photography from the 1980s. In the years since the cats debuted in 1980, Skoglund has sculpted babies, foxes, squirrels, dogs, and enlisted such foodstuffs as Cheetos, strawberry jam, raisins, and popcorn. Most extant installations are in museum collections.

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