Mary Ellen Carroll
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Despite an oeuvre spanning more than 20 years and a disavowal of any signature style, Mary Ellen Carroll has throughout her career been investigating a single, fundamental question: What is a work of art? The resulting multifarious, provocative and often wry outpouring in architecture, writing, performance, photography, filmmaking, printmaking, sculpture and painting has been collected into this book--the New York conceptual artist's long-awaited first monograph. Carroll's work interrogates the relationship between subjectivity, language and power; at its core is a dedication to political and social critique. The touchstones of her practice are the double, the imitation and the copy, and these motifs are applied to a range of ends--from conjuring the unheimlich to probing the means of distribution and interpretation of the work of art. A Carroll piece may involve something as seemingly effortless as trademarking an idea by another artist or as complex and bold as walking out the door penniless with only her passport and the clothes on her back to spend six weeks in a foreign country. Carroll imbues all her work with a strong performative element; even a new opus, involving the rotation of a Houston tract home on its foundation, is conceived as a way of making architecture perform.