Fame can be toxic. It can unleash stars’ self-destructive drives and vulnerabilities. Such are the morality tales that surround celebrity, female celebrity especially. This portfolio of art by amateur and professional artists glorifies stars whose celebrity is infused with public shame. Their private pain becomes the dark, paradoxical basis of fandom.
The artists featured here approach their subjects as fans. Yet their works reveal a range of emotive responses to their publicly troubled star-subjects. Some appear to be at odds with an adoring and protective investment in cherished idols. Images transform glamorous but shamed celebrities into supernatural, totemic figures: desecrating admired bodies blurs the line between predator and prey. By turning their subjects into zombies, these works, taken as a group, manufacture a special genre of redemption, revenge. Graphic gore surfaces in portraits—schadenfreude and sadism emerge as the real face of celebration.
Courtesy Modern Art Oxford.
Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photograph by Robert McKeever.
Collection of Howard and Judith Tullman.