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I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines

I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines

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Softcover with French flaps
8 in. x 10 in. | 20.32 cm x 25.40 cm.

192 pages

In I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines, Brendan Donnelly re-appropriates framed film stills, headshots, red carpet paparazzi photos and postcards and turns them into styled juxtapositions of present day and yesteryear celebrities. This new series of works, Donnelly's latest, includes 16 framed collages, a DVD collection, and a large-scale collage mural.

A portion of the work, which will be exhibited in October at Show Gallery in Los Angeles, has been produced as a limited-edition book, designed by Taylor Giali, as part of H&B's California Artist Series.

Donnelly has spent over 30 years collecting ephemera sourced from various locations, including movie memorabilia stores, head shops, souvenir shops, newsstands, adult video stores, and bookstores on Hollywood Boulevard. Along with the keepsakes he collected as a youth in the 90s (and continues to collect), those objects have shaped his pedagogy. The result is a rich and provocative reflection on recognizable public artifacts that juxtapose celebrity scandals with politics and pop culture moments to paint a sweeping portrait of Donnelly’s appreciation—and criticism—of celebrity culture.

A large, production-style wall collage titled “Hollywood Babylon” (an homage to Kenneth Anger’s books about scandal and death in Hollywood), which includes found photos, tabloids, headshots, newspaper clippings, movie stills, and other ephemeral objects, becomes a whole narrative around the tragic, drug addled, desperate, dark and humorous sides of Hollywood culture.

I Wanted to be an Actor, but I Could Never Remember My Lines encapsulates the full clash of feelings inspired by the trappings of celebrity.

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A Connecticut native, Brendan Donnelly (b. 1980) lives and works in Los Angeles. Over the course of his nearly two-decade long career, he has exhibited on numerous occasions, including solo shows in Los Angeles and Tokyo and group shows in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Berlin.

As an interdisciplinary artist and provocateur, he works at the nexus of fine art and lowbrow culture. Donnelly’s obsession with pop culture in general—and Los Angeles subculture in particular—has culminated in a first-rate collection of ephemera that fully illustrates his dedication to his work as an aesthete and perpetuator of American experiences.