Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Ellen Gallagher, American (Providence, Rhode Island 1965 -)
Work Type
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Photogravure with laser cutting, collage, and hair pomade
sheet: 37.3 x 25.5 cm (14 11/16 x 10 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Ellen Gallagher
  • inscription: yes, verso, graphite, hand written, signed: signature, date, edition numbering, press identification: Ellen Gallegher 2004 10/20 / TWO PALMS PRESS, NYC
[Two Palms Press, Inc., New York, New York], sold; to Harvard University Art Museums, May 25, 2004.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
© Ellen Gallagher
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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A small print such as this is a characteristic Gallagher, since even in her very large paintings she works on a paper substrate, often adhering to it die-cut elements and plastic three-dimensional modeling materials, the equivalent of the layered, laser-cut silhouettes and "Duke" hair pommade that are the essence of this print. Gallagher employs much the same imagery in her paintings as well, confessing that for the painting "Falls and Flips," for example, she isolated advertisements of synthetic-fiber African-American wigs, and that more generally, "I scan pages from advertisements about control: acne, unruly hair, corns, bunions, and asthma" ("Ellen Gallagher Talks about 'Pomp-Bang,' 2003," 'Artforum, April 2004, p. 128). Obviously, the hair pommade (its commercial brand-name: "Duke") that both highlights and obscures the afros of the 110 men in "Duke" is the controlling element here, or at least one of them. The cubist grid and the blank space below each bust, redolent of the mug shot, are other suggestions of control. Whether one is amused, frightened, or seduced (as one could be by the scent of the pommade released by opening the cover of the print's container) by this line-up of out-of-date style, it is a provocative print, one that embodies the artist's continuing preoccupation in all her works with the "tension between the drawn and the printed" (meaning, of course, printed sources as well as created printed consequences) (Robert Storr in "Ellen Gallagher," exhibition catalogue, Boston: ICA, 2003). The September/October issue of "Art on Paper" (v. 8, no. 1) featured an article ("Hand Work," pp. 34-35) that describes Gallagher's labor-intensive print-making process, which requires as much work on the part of Two Palms Press and their computerized facilities to realize an edition.
Exhibition History

Critical Printing, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/31/2019 - 01/05/2020

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