Peter Nadin is an Art Press Magnet

by Paddy Johnson on July 5, 2011 · 8 comments A Brief History Of

Peter Nadin's farmer's field

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.


mike July 5, 2011 at 8:33 pm

d’arcangelo and fend were the real visionaries in this crew.

Magda Sawon July 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I need to see this show but on the basis of past record I second the previous comment. Too much myth making is going on here. D’Arcangelo lived before my time. Our friend Peter Fend, the brilliant, mad, obessive visionaire, is still and will likely remain gallery untamed – Colin de Land had a short crack at him – word is he is in New Zealand. 

Joy Garnett July 7, 2011 at 11:20 pm
Anonymous July 7, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Ah yes, that hubbub. 

Anonymous July 7, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Ah yes, that hubbub. 

Joy Garnett July 7, 2011 at 11:20 pm
mike July 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm

the ‘lost pictures’ comment is a generational qualifier that’s historically inaccurate. nadin was not a part of the original ‘pictures’ show in ’77.  his paintings were superficially similar to tom lawson’s or maybe walter robinson’s, whose work shared affinities with levine, brauntuch, et al in that they derived from other media, but that’s also a stretch.

Anonymous July 8, 2011 at 12:23 am

It’s amazing how one can follow these stories, see the show at the met, and still produce the error. I’ll correct the post.  

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