Pippa Garner - Act Like You Know Me and Na Kim on view through December 16
White Columns

Now on view!
Two new exhibitions
November 3–December 16, 2023


Na Kim

(An angled view of a gallery. Mounted on a free-standing wall closest to the viewer is a TV with two headphones connected to it that plays a recorded video of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Lying on the painted shelf below the TV are three books surrounded by documents and photographs covered by glass. The wall to the right holds a row of 31 identically-sized small prints with two larger prints hung towards the right of the wall. Below the hung pieces is a shelf with more material. Standing on a short plinth to the bottom left of the wall is a slide projector.)
Pippa Garner ACT LIKE YOU KNOW ME, installation view, 2023.


White Columns proudly presents Act Like You Know Me, the first American presentation of the traveling solo exhibition by Pippa Garner, after prior presentations at Kunstverein München (2022), Kunsthalle Zürich (2023), and FRAC Lorraine, Metz (2023.)

With a few mindful deviations, this exhibition — and the accompanying monograph of the same name — is bookended by the late 1960s and 2010. Garner has made work since that cut-off point, but what we are contending with here is everything that risks being lost, work that hasn’t been historicized and needs to be contextualized, and pre-internet images and ideas that are either not online or, as with Garner’s iconic Half-Suit (1980-81), have been circulating without due credit.

Born in 1942 in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, the artist and author formerly known as Philip Garner is pushing back against systems of consumerism, marketing, and waste and has created a dense body of work including drawing, performance, sculpture, video, and installation over her five decade-spanning career. Her uncompromising approach to life and practice has allowed her to interact with the worlds of illustration, editorial, television and art without ever quite becoming beholden to them.

Read the rest of the press release here.

Pippa Garner is an artist and author based in Long Beach, California. For more than five decades her cross-disciplinary practice of drawing, performance, sculpture, photography, video, and installation has continued to push back against systems of consumerism, marketing, and waste. Recent solo exhibitions include, Act Like You Know Me at Kunstverein Munich (2022), Kunsthalle Zúrich (2023), and FRAC Lorraine, Metz (2023); Immaculate Misconceptions at JOAN, Los Angeles (2021) and Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento (2022); The Bowels of the Mind at STARS, Los Angeles and Jeffrey Stark, New York (both 2021); and A Shadow of My Future Self at O-Town House, Los Angeles (2019). Her solo exhibition $ELL YOUR $ELF was on view at Art Omi through October 29, 2023, which premiered her latest conceptual car Haulin’ Ass! (2023) and was accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalog co-published with Pioneer Works Press. In collaboration with Art Omi, Pippa Garner: I’m With Me opened at OCD Chinatown on September 22, 2023: a tattoo parlor featuring queer/trans tattoo artists who have chosen texts and drawings by Garner to inject directly into the skin of her biggest fans, and sartorial fan art by fashion house Eckhaus Latta. Her work is included in the Hammer’s Made in L.A., 2023 Biennial, Acts of Living, and the Yokohama Triennale, 2023. Garner is the author of several books, including the Better Living Catalog, which was republished by Primary Information this year.

White Columns would like to thank Fiona Alison Duncan, Maurin Dietrich and Gina Merz, as well as Kunstverein München, Kunsthalle Zürich and FRAC Lorraine, Metz for their commitment to this exhibition and its New York presentation.


(A straight-on view of a gallery wall with three paintings hung on it. The two outermost paintings are of the same size and have solid dark blue backgrounds, and both depict women (who resemble one another.) The middle painting has a vibrant red background, but also depicts a woman who otherwise resembles the subjects of the paintings on each side.)
Na Kim, installation view, 2023.

Na Kim

White Columns is proud to present the first solo exhibition by the New York-based artist Na Kim (b. 1986, Seoul, South Korea.) Kim’s exhibition comprises a group of ten recent paintings from her ongoing series of imagined portraits.

What follows is a Q&A between Kim and White Columns’ director Matthew Higgs.

White Columns: Your recent paintings take the form of portraits of imagined subjects. Can you say something about the origins of this series?

Na Kim: In the beginning, there was one subject—one imagined face. The series is my attempt to render that face over and over again. Which is to say that there was this platonic ideal that I was working towards, almost obsessively. Over time, I found that every new portrait I created looked the same but different, sometimes so different it could be understood as the face of someone else entirely. And yet the resemblance remained. The portraits are derivative, as opposed to carbon copies, as if each painting gives birth to the next – so there is a sort of genealogy to them.

White Columns: A number of early paintings in the series appeared to be self-portraits. Can you say something about how you negotiate the idea of ‘self-portraiture’ or indeed ‘identity’ in the work?

Na Kim: I think portraiture is endlessly fascinating. How we perceive ourselves and others—we rely so heavily on slippery memory to know what someone looks like. How we see is so complex, but portraiture adds another layer of intrigue for me. Because these women are not real, accuracy is not my goal. The question is more how to make these women believable—and belief is another slippery thing. It poses questions about epistemic violence, who we deem to be unreliable narrators and who determines what’s real and what’s not. I can understand why some people might mistake them as self-portraits. But I don’t like to paint my own face—there’s so much wrong with it!

White Columns: Do you think of your subjects as ‘characters’?

Na Kim: I don’t perceive them as real women, but they’re very present. They are very confrontational. However I perceive them they are always perceiving me back. They exist. They’re not ‘real’ women, but they exist. I forced them to exist. And I’m not sure if they’re happy or sad about that.

White Columns: You have set yourself a series of specific formal ‘limits’ within the work: i.e. the creation of a portrait image set against an essentially monochromatic ground. Can you say something about your approach and how, through the painting process, you work with – or around – these self-imposed ‘restrictions’.

Na Kim: I don’t like to over-complicate things, and I like that they’re non-narrative. In the most literal sense, these are figurative paintings, but spiritually they are abstract. Colors can be so emotive. My focus is the subject. There are already a thousand tiny decisions that go into painting a face. It never feels boring to me. Reproduction, replication—these are inherently processes with strict formal limitations, and I find this meditative, like a mantra.

Na Kim (b. 1986 Seoul, South Korea) lives and works in New York City. She completed her BFA in 2009 at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. She currently works as art director of The Paris Review and associate creative director at the publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her designs have been named among The New York Times’ best book covers of the year for the past seven consecutive years. Her illustrations have appeared in the New YorkerThe New York Times, and The Atlantic among other places.

For further information about these exhibitions contact: violet@whitecolumns.org

White Columns
91 Horatio Street
New York, NY 10014
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