Gavin Brown seems to attract compelling narratives. Last fall, no one could shut up about Rob Pruitt’s comeback. This summer, we’re all talking about the gallery’s Peter Nadin show (on view through July 30), another artist with a comeback story for the ages. As the story goes, Nadin ran a gallery with Christopher D'Arcangelo in the 80’s until disputes over management dissolved the partnership. Following this, the artist suffered a nervous breakdown, which according to the Times, “caused Nadin to begin seeing the world in a fundamentally different way.”
Now, if this doesn’t sound like the archetype of a “visionary” artist already, I don’t know what does, but we’re not done yet. He’s also a “forgotten” artist, another popular media narrative. Nadin worked with Richard Prince, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and Louise Lawler to name a few when running his gallery. A remarkable number of these artists were part of the famed 1977 Pictures Generation show. Add to this, Nadin’s book The First Mark: Notes on unlearning how to make art in 2006 and his ability to produce seemingly endless compelling quotes, and you’ve got an artist destined for press attention. “A carrot is not a work of art.” Nadin tells New York Times reporter Randy Kennedy, “I'm not proposing that anyone think of a carrot as a work of art. But what I am saying is that a carrot and the art I make here are both results of the same process.”
Interested in the artist’s work now? I am. Now to see the show so I can actually talk about the art.
Editor’s note: An older version of this post incorrectly identified Nadin as the lost Pictures Generation artist. He was not part of the original 1977 show.