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Per Billgren, Under the Watchful Eye of a Scrutinous Superior, 2011, mixed media, approx. 21 x 40 x 20".

Per Billgren and Leigh Ledare

RECEPTION

Per Billgren, Under the Watchful Eye of a Scrutinous Superior, 2011, mixed media, approx. 21 x 40 x 20".

“Something Might Have Been Better Than Nothing . . .” was the suggestive title of a two-person exhibition by Per Billgren and Leigh Ledare, childhood friends from Seattle and former art school classmates at Columbia University. It sounds like an oblique reference to the detritus of adolescent yearning (or its nostalgic sublimation) inhabiting the portraits and landscapes of a shared biography. Ledare, thrust into the spotlight several years ago with a racy body of work (photographs, videos, and the 2008 book Pretend You’re Actually Alive) that perversely complied with his ex-ballerina/ex-model mother’s desire to document her sexed-up postmenopausal persona for posterity, has subsequently shifted his camera away from his maternal muse while remaining faithful to the conceptual rigor and affective investment that complicated his images beyond their shock value. Staged alongside

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