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Trophy Lives
Philippa Snow

Trophy Lives, Philippa Snow

Trophy Lives,
Philippa SnowTrophy Lives
Philippa Snow


104 pages
125 x 195 mm
ISBN 9781915743121


We know that celebrities can make great muses: think of the work of Richard Phillips, who has painted an entire series of works inspired by Lindsay Lohan, Robert Pattinson, and Miley Cyrus, or of Urs Fischer, who recently showed a life-sized candle in the shape of Leonardo DiCaprio. Notoriously, the art collector Peter Brant commissioned the wickedly satirical Italian American artist Maurizio Cattelan to make a sculpture of his wife, the supermodel Stephanie Seymour. The work was technically called Stephanie, but became known in the industry as ‘Trophy Wife’. With the sculpture valued at 1.5 million dollars, while Seymour herself is purportedly worth one hundred million dollars, you might be tempted to wonder which has the claim to be the ‘better’ work of art.

In this illustrated essay, critic Philippa Snow asks whether all great, or iconic, celebrities can be considered technically self-authored artworks in and of themselves. Drawing on a wide range of cultural references from the past two decades, she proposes that increasingly – as celebrities’ private lives become more visible and thus more art-directed – celebrity itself can be a medium for contemporary art, a form of mythmaking and image-making that is every bit as complex, conceptual, and compelling as the work of a traditional artist.

About the Author
Philippa Snow is a critic and essayist. Her work has appeared in publications including Artforum, The Los Angeles Review of Books, ArtReview, Frieze, The White Review, Vogue, The Nation, The New Statesman, and The New Republic. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, and her first book, Which As You Know Means Violence, is out now with Repeater.

About the Publisher
MACK Books are an art and photography publishing house based in London, working with established and emerging artists, writers and curators, and cultural institutions.