For this Summer Session’s topic of celebrity, we bring you an article by former Daily Serving columnist Catherine Wagley, who explores artistic practices that take specific personages, both real and imagined, as their subject matter. Wagley’s piece begins the complex work of mapping out the intersections of fantasy and reality in the face of celebrity, and what’s at stake when they overlap. This article was originally written for Art21.org and published on October 25, 2012.
When photographer Laura London’s show opened at Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown last month, it was calledOnce Upon a Time…Axl Rose was my Neighbor. By the time it closed on October 20, its title had been cut down to just Once Upon a Time… and all direct reference to Axl Rose, famous for Guns N’ Roses but more so for being his complicated self, excised from the press release. The release now “apologize[d] for the confusion” the first title may have caused.
From the get-go, the show was supposed to occupy that slippery space between truth and fantasy. But Axl Rose’s lawyer didn’t catch the nuance.