Greer Lankton

“They're all freaks. Outsiders, untouchables. They’re like biographies, the kind of people you’d like to know about. Really interesting and fucked-up.”

Greer Lankton on her doll sculpture in an interview with Carlo McCormick in the East Village Eye, November 1984.

Greer Lankton (1958 – 1996) was one of the most significant artists to have taken part in the revolutionary art scene of New York City’s East Village during the 1980s. Lanton grew up in Park Forest, IL, where she graduated a year early from high school to attend the Art Institute of Chicago from 1975 to1978. That year she moved to New York City and received her BFA from Pratt Institute in 1981. By then Lankton had secured her reputation as a leading figure in the social ferment of NYC in the 1980s through her visceral doll sculpture, and now lesser-known performances and minimalist soft sculpture.

Lankton’s drawings are frequently compared to that of the expressionist Egon Schiele and her dolls and their photographic portraits, to that of surrealist Hans Bellmer. Yet her experimental and multimedia work are located within a history of transfeminism, avant-garde performance and even pop-art, while at the same time is equally situated within a neo-punk canon and the Trash Trilogy of John Waters films - Pink Flamingos being her favorite.

Lankton’s exhibitions and performances included those at PS1, Club 57, Pyramid Club, Franklyn Furnace, Civilian Warfare Gallery, Hal Bromm and the Whitney Biennale, NYC. She also exhibited across the US and Europe, including the UK, Austria and the Venice Biennale, Italy. She exhibited her first full-scale installation artwork at the Mattress Factory Museum shortly before her untimely death in 1996.