Millie Wilson: Errors of Nature

Reading Ours
May 18–June 15, 2019

On view Saturdays, 11am–3pm

Please join Reading Ours for Millie Wilson: Errors of Nature, a solo exhibition of the esteemed artist and CalArts Faculty Emeritus. Bringing together three works by Wilson from the 1990s, this exhibition highlights the artist’s mining of lesbian history and consistently deft wordplay.

Organized by David Evans Frantz, the exhibition takes its title from Wilson’s artist book Errors of Nature, published in 1992 by New Langton Arts in San Francisco. This small edition lists “symptoms” of lesbianism culled from mid-century pulp psychology and sexology books. On each page four statements, dangled without subjects or predicates, are arranged to form a mysterious portrait of a deviate individual. Copies of this artist book will be available for purchase at Reading Ours.

Wilson’s queering of appropriated text is similarly presented in Twisted Love. Conceived in 1990 and exhibited for the first time at Reading Ours, this wall installation lists the sensational titles of lesbian pulp novels as an ordered grid.

Much of Wilson’s practice is rooted in imagining queer futures through fictive extrapolation and historical misinterpretation. For a 1989 installation at LACE she invented the persona of “Peter (A Young English Girl),” an imaginary early-twentieth century lesbian painter who took her name from Romaine Brooks’ 1923–24 portrait of the artist Gluck. Both Brooks and Gluck would inspire Peter’s backstory and uncompromising demeanor. In her poster Wanted (1997), presented at Reading Ours, Wilson appears as a dapperly dressed Peter in a photograph by Catherine Opie. The image is presented alongside a text highlighting Peter’s artistic struggles, personal tribulations, and historical erasure.

These three works are on view alongside a selection of exhibition catalogues and books featuring Wilson’s works.

Millie Wilson: Errors of Nature is organized by David Evans Frantz. This exhibition could not have been mounted without the care, enthusiasm, and trust of Millie Wilson.

About the Artist

Millie Wilson is an artist whose work has been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Rome, Olso, Oporto, and Melbourne. Her work is in numerous public and private collections, including those of the UCLA Hammer Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Orange County Museum of Art, The Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), The Disney Corporation, Eileen Harris Norton and Peter Norton. She has received numerous grants, including an NEA Visual Artists Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship, City of Los Angeles Artist Grant, California Arts Council Fellowship, Art Matters, Inc.Grant, and a LACE Artists Projects Grant. She has been published in a variety of contexts, and has taught and lectured throughout the U.S. and Europe. She joined the faculty of the Program of Art at the California Institute of the Arts in 1985 and retired December 31, 2014.


Opening Reception
Saturday, May 18, 5–8pm

Talk with Susan Silton
Saturday, June 8, 1pm

Susan Silton will talk about her book design projects from the 1990s, including All But the Obvious (LACE, 1990), Altered Egos (Santa Monica Museum of Art, 1994), and Pervert (UCI University Art Gallery, 1995), among others.

Installation views of Millie Wilson: Errors of Nature. Photos by Ian Byers-Gamber. Courtesy of Reading Ours

Millie Wilson, Errors of Nature, 1992. Artist book, edition of 1000, 6 ⅞ x 4 ⅛ inches. Published by New Langton Arts, San Francisco, in conjunction with the solo-exhibition of Wilson’s work Living in Someone Else’s Paradise, 1992. Courtesy of the artist