New York

Leigh Ledare

Andrew Roth

A typewritten note describing the artist’s mother air-drying naked on a bed, postshower; a napkin on which his mother has scribbled things she would like to be (“a writer like Marguerite Duras and Anaïs Nin”); a grid of thirty-six photos of his mother playing with her labia; a page from a 1966 Seventeen magazine profile of his mother as a young ballerina; classified ads his mother placed in the Seattle Weekly seeking “a generous wealthy husband (not someone else’s) who wants his own private dancer.” In all, twenty-three works (images, texts, ephemera) made up “Pretend You’re Actually Alive,” Leigh Ledare’s first New York solo exhibition, which coincided with the publication of an artist’s book of the same name featuring even more mementos and cathartic ejecta.

Not since, respectively, the Families of Nan and Mann redefined the stakes for documenting one’s own tribe has an artist carved such

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.