Karen Kilimnik

'Heathers' 1992

'Switzerland, Pink Panther & Peter Sellars & Boris & Natasha & Gelsey Kirkland in Siberia' 1991


'Kate Moss' 1994

Karen Kilimnik is obsessed with teen culture. Her “portraits” of Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio play with historically glorifying paintings of public figures and the less refined images of pop culture figures disseminated through the media today.
Heathers views another iconic work: Michael Lehmann’s horror comedy Heathers (1989), where she stretches it into a film longer than six hours in total—the artist rewinding and replaying scenes between actresses Shannen Doherty and Wynona Ryder “like a gaggle of tipsy girls at a slumber party”.

I’m not a particular fan of her paintings as such, I prefer her installation and videos mainly. Her paintings don’t reach for that kind of classy resolution, looking half finished as if she has been distracted by the next teen of the moment. Her style reflects the trends of celebrity culture, fast-paced and short-lived. They encapsulate confusion and seem off-balance, like she has somehow distanced herself from the topic, painting from paparazzi shots in a magazine as opposed to a sitting portrait like the classic portraits of icons.
She examines the ideas of value without actually becoming valuable.