Laurel Nakadate: A Message to Pretty.

October 20 - November 25, 2006

Press Release

Danziger Projects is pleased to present "A Message To Pretty", an exhibition of new work by Laurel Nakadate. This will be the artist's second solo exhibition with the gallery.

"A Message to Pretty" continues Nakadate's investigation of the connection between play and reality, her self-appointed role in strangers' lives, and the encounters that she videotapes. However, in this work both content and intent take the viewer into darker territory.

The new exhibition takes a more installation-oriented approach than Nakadate's previous shows combining self-portraits of the artist taken in New Orleans hotels, dioramas of some of her subjects' home environments, and two separate single channel video projections. In one projection - "Heavy Petting"- the artist re-enacts Meg Ryan's fake orgasm scene from "When Harry Met Sally" in a multitude of ever differing locations. The effect of the repetition is both funny and disturbing, calling into question not only some of the cherished conventions of video art, but also issues of truth and sincerity.

Nakadate's work has often skirted with danger, but in "Worthless Bitch", the companion video piece to "Heavy Petting", it comes to a chilling and unexpected conclusion. Using men she meets through chance encounters as well as the middle-aged outsiders with whom she has collaborated since her first video works in 2001, the film consists entirely of men videotaped in their homes talking directly to the camera. Nakadate asked them to address the camera as if it was a woman they once loved and invited them to bring up their unresolved feelings. The degree to which this role playing immediately and effortlessly descends into realms of verbal violence, misogyny, and anger, and the closeness of that hatred to the surface of the men's conscious is both surreal and unsettling.

Together the two pieces create a vivid and disorienting experience and a powerful exploration of hidden thoughts and repressed emotion on the part of both sexes.


Laurel Nakadate was born in Austin, Texas in 1975. In the last year her work has been shown at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Kunstfilm Biennial in Cologne, and The Center for Contemporary Art in Louisville, KY. Her work is currently on view through December 10 in the exhibition "One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now" at New York's Asia Society. In November her work will be appearing in the group exhibition "Heart Breaker" at the Mary Boone Gallery and in the Kunstfilm projection at the Berlin Biennial.


For more information please contact the gallery at 212 629 6778 or at: info@danzigerprojects.com