Cynthia Talmadge
Goodbye to All This: Alan Smithee Off Broadway
13 Jan – 25 Feb 2023
The Upstairs at 39 Walker

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Cynthia Talmadge, Goodbye to All This: Alan Smithee Off Broadway, installation view, Bortolami, New York, NY, 2023

“We find the narcissist in a reflective mood.” — stage directions penciled into a draft of act III, scene 1 of Alan Smithee’s Goodbye to All This

Bortolami is pleased to announce Goodbye to All This: Alan Smithee Off Broadway, an exhibition by New York-based artist Cynthia Talmadge.

“Alan Smithee” is a pseudonym used by Hollywood directors to remove their names from movies over which they have lost creative control. In this exhibition Cynthia Talmadge animates Smithee, imagining him in the mid-1980s as a down-on-his-luck, middle-aged baby boomer, trying, elaborately but ineptly, to revive a career defined by burned bridges, bad behavior, and commercial failure. The show takes as its premise a fictitious play, an autobiographical avant-garde off-broadway Bildungsroman written and directed by Smithee in an effort to engineer his come back. The play–entitled Goodbye to All This is what Talmadge imagines as Smithee’s clumsy inversion of the title of Joan Didion’s essay about leaving New York for California – tells Smithee’s version of his rise and fall in Hollywood and his subsequent departure for New York, culminating in his redemption as a New York theater artist.

The only substance to the real-world “Smithee” is an extensive filmography of more than 80 credits. Talmadge takes this output at face value, envisioning for us the detailed biography and personality of a director whose career persists despite every job he’s done having gone badly awry amidst professional conflict. For Talmadge, this makes him a dubious American icon: an epitome of privilege and unwarranted confidence; a guy who – at least until recently – could only ever fail up.

Open Tuesday–Saturday, 10 AM–6 PM & by appointment.

Works

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Walk of Fame

Walk of Fame, 2023

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (Chasen's)

Maserati (Chasen's), 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (Directors Guild of America)

Maserati (Directors Guild of America), 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled ACT 1: The Corner Office

ACT 1: The Corner Office, 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Untitled

Untitled, 2023

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (Celebrity Center)

Maserati (Celebrity Center), 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (Friars Club)

Maserati (Friars Club), 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (Dream Sequence)

Maserati (Dream Sequence), 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled ACT 2: The Cabana

ACT 2: The Cabana, 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Set design by Alan Smithee Act 3

Set design by Alan Smithee Act 3, 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled ACT 3: The Loft

ACT 3: The Loft, 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Untitled

Untitled, 2023

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Untitled

Untitled, 2023

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (Elaine's)

Maserati (Elaine's), 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (The Strasberg Institute)

Maserati (The Strasberg Institute), 2022

Installation view of displayed artwork titled Maserati (39 Walker)

Maserati (39 Walker), 2022

Press

Will Heinrich What to See in N.Y.C. Galleries Right Now The New York Times 19 Jan 2023