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Jeff Burton

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Jeff Burton was born in Anaheim, California, in 1963. He received a BFA from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth in 1985 and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia in 1989. Moving to the San Fernando Valley following graduate school, he began working for Catalina Videos as a still photographer on their gay adult film sets. As he worked, he began to develop a style focused not on the sexual activity of the film being produced but on seemingly unimportant details and surroundings. His Untitled series (1998) observed the subtle connections between the production of pornographic films and larger American culture, attending to the detritus of the ordinary interiors in which porn films are usually made—details that suggest a mundane world outside the seemingly transgressive situation of the filming. In Untitled #60 (Life) (1998), an actor, possibly between scenes, lies on a lounge chair. He is only partially in the frame; of more interest to Burton is the anonymous poolside table, with its flower bouquet, ashtray, soda, and copy of Life magazine. The Dreamland series (2001) expanded upon this project, turning to living-room interiors such as the one in Untitled 119 (2001). Here again we are given only a suggestion of the filmmaking and sexual encounters taking place in this room—a man’s leg pokes into the frame in the lower left corner. In the 2003 series Kevin, Burton shifted from pornography to the world of male stripping. In 2006, the artist superimposed onto a new series of photographs transparencies revealing the crop marks and compositional cues previously drawn by art directors for pornography sets; the images remark on the tension between the impulsive scenarios accepted by viewers and the artificiality of the scenes manufactured by the sex industry.

Since his first solo exhibition, at Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York in 1995, Burton has shown at Sadie Coles HQ in London (1999, 2000, and 2003) and Galleria Franco Noero in Turin (2002, 2004, and 2007), among other venues. In addition, he has participated in many group exhibitions, including Stills: Emerging Photography in the 1990s at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1997), International Biennial Exhibition at SITE Santa Fe (2001), Majestic Sprawl: Recent Los Angeles Photography at Pasadena Museum of California Art (2002), Moving Pictures at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2003), and Into Me/Out of Me organized by P.S. 1 Contemporary Arts Center in New York, which traveled to the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and MACRO in Rome (2006–07). He received an Art Matters grant in 1996. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

 

guggenheim.org

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