Christian Holstad

Selected works by Christian Holstad

Christian Holstad
Seed Spitters


Pencil on newspaper

17 x 23 cm

Christian Holstad’s erased newsprint photographs, known collectively as the Erasurehead series, began as a way of killing time. Working as a waiter in a restaurant after graduation from art college, Holstad began to erase the images in newspapers while waiting for customers, finding that the action of rubbing out became a way of probing the complex depths of each image. Erasing is a kind of negative drawing: its marks are gestural, reminiscent of the physical action of the artist’s hand and arm, and yet their residue is a kind of blankness. Photographs in newspapers are used to widen the implications of the stories they accompany through the willful ambiguity of imagery: they say more than they mean.

Christian Holstad
Grasping For Straws


pencil on newspaper

13.5 x 19 cm
When Holstad engages with these fragments, they’re made both more complex in their iconography and are somehow saved, even memorialised.
Defending Decisions, for instance, takes as its basis a news photograph of decorated western military leaders, speaking into microphones at a press conference, presumably used to illustrate a story on military intervention (its date, 2005, might put that into a more specific context). The heads of the three men, however, are distorted by Holstad’s rubbings, morphing into a single pale blob, with sunken eyes and ant-infested mouths, added later with pencil.
Christian Holstad
Held Hearts and Bated Breath


pencil on newspaper

15.5 x 23 cm
This image of literal ‘facelessness’ – something of relevance in modern warfare, with its disengaged combat and remote aggression – renders the leaders as monstrously interchangeable. Similarly, in Under Development, a photograph of riot police disintegrates into a cloudy whiteness, the helmets floating like bubbles; it’s as though the images are erasing themselves, in imitation of modern memory, where the ubiquity of images makes them slip out of our hands and minds almost as soon as they appear.
Christian Holstad
Defending Decisions


pencil on newspaper

13 x 18 cm
These seven works on paper belong to an ongoing series known as the ’Eraserhead’ drawings. Ordinary black-and-white photographs are cut from newspapers; leaving large parts untouched, Holstad carefully erases the ink from other areas to create ghostly, ambiguous voids, rendering their subjects – political figures, landscapes, interiors – deformed and isolated. In their place, details are added in pencil to contort, warp and dramatically recontextualize the original image. This technique, married to the scale and fragile nature of the works, generates a tremendous and highly personal pathos, evoking feelings of loss and fear, and threatening our faith in and experience of media imagery.
Christian Holstad
Alice In Wonderland


Pencil on newspaper

15 x 18 cm
Christian Holstad
A Sacrifice on a Volcano


pencil on newspaper

16.5 x 26.5 cm
Christian Holstad
A Slide of Hands


pencil on newspaper

22 x 33.5 cm
Christian Holstad
House Training # 6 (Dancing Goats)


Wool, leather, polyester, rubber, chicken wire, wood, linen, tie

100.3 x 40.6 x 50.8 cm
Christian Holstad
House Training # 12 (Flowers)


Wool, leather, polyester, rubber, mohair, chicken wire, wood, tie

96.5 x 40.6 x 50.8 cm
Christian Holstad
House Training # 20 (Dancing Goats)


Wool, leather, polyester, rubber, foam, linen, tie

101.6 x 45.7 x 48.3 cm
Christian Holstad
Cacoon (detail)


Vintage aluminium lawn chair, paint, 2xist underwear elastic, vintage mohair sweater, xerox transfers, wool felt, vintage exercise boots, sand

Christian Holstad
Defined through deflation and limits of exposure (detail)


Mixed Media: Cashmere coat, tie, white shirt, leather glove, terry cloth, polyester, cotton, vintage millinery trimmings, vintage satin glove, champagne glass, mens suiting and vintage party dress

Dimensions variable

Two stuffed snakes, a dark male and his floral female mate, lay entwined on the gallery floor. Clutching a bouquet of microphones, they confront the viewer with a wry statement on the privileged social systems that media imagery exploits. In the same breath, this hand-sewn, soft sculpture, typical of Holstad’s interest in traditional forms of craftsmanship, invites us to reconsider culturally prescribed notions of gender, domesticity, and high and low art.

Christian Holstad
The Brain Quilt


Cotten, felt, wool, mixed media

200.66 x 180.34 cm

Craftwork, and the use of everyday materials, are central to Holstad’s practice. Labour-intensive, often collaborative techniques such as sewing, knitting and crocheting feature strongly in his work, embodying his interest in the tactile object and its ability to convey sensuality and comfort while resisting the increasing ’virtuality’ of contemporary life. Like the majority of his works, be they drawings, collages or soft, sculptural forms, The Brain Quilt is imbued with a distinctly personal aesthetic symptomatic of a close physical and emotional relationship with its maker. The coloured and colourless forms seem to suggest the vagaries of human memory, or the contrasting sentiments at play in one’s mind.

Erasurehead series text by Ben Street

Christian Holstad's Biography

Christian Holstad
Born in 1972, in Anaheim, California
Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York


The great Pacific Garbage Patch, Schmidt & Handrup gallery Cologne
The Worlds Gone Beautiful, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York

I confess, galleria Civica Of Modena Italy
American Standard, Victoria Miro Gallery, London

I Know Why The Birdcage Sings, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York

Christian Holstad, Galeria Massimo de carlo, Milan

Containers on the beach, Art Basel Miami Beach: Art positions, Miami
Christian Holstad, The Terms Of Endearment, Museum Of Contemporary Art, Miami
Leather Beach, Prince Deli, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York

Beautiful Lies You Could Live in, Victoria Miro Gallery, London
Christian Holstad, Galeria Massimo de Carlo, Milan

Gaiety: Discovering The Lost Art (in Absentia), Curated by Beatrix Ruf, Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland
Formalismus, Moderne Kunst, Khuete, Kunstverein in Hamburg
A Dark Room In Which To Stagger Sorrow, Whitney biennial, New York
Innocent Killers, Project Room, PS 1 , Comtemporary Art Center, Queens
Moving Towards The Light, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York
American Express, Hiromi Yoshii, Tokyo

Sonnenaufgang (sunrise), Aurel Scheibler Gallery, Cologne, Germany
Sonnenaufgang (sunset), Daniel Schmidt Gallery, Koln, Germany
The Birth of Princess Middlefinger, Prague Biennial, Prague
The Housekeepers, Daniel Reich Gallery @ the Scope Art NY '03, Dylan Hotel

Life is a Gift, Daniel Reich Gallery, NY
The Self Esteem Salon: The Baptism Series, jointly with Chris Verene Deitch Projects, NY & Faye Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA
GentleHeights presents Christian Holstad's Sand Day (in Absentia): A Show of Artifacts, Absentia Art Gallery, Williamsburg, NY

How Art Thou, Chorus Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
Selected Group Exhibitions and Performance:


Head Shop, , Exile Gallery Berlin
Christmas In July, Yvon Lambert gallery, New York
Bernhard Willelm Men’s 2011 Collection, Paris
Chicken Shit Bingo, MiArt, Milan

Shape Of Things To Come: New Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London
Compilations IV, Kunsthalle Dusseldorf
Zur Sache, Schmidt & Handrup, Colgne
Light Chamber (part 2), X-Initiative Foundations, New York
Second Hand, Engholm Engelhorn, Galerie, Vienna
Compass In Hand, Selections from the Judith Rothchild Collection, MOMA, New York

Unmonumental, New Museuam, New York, Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami
Time Crevasse, Yokohama Triennale 3, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawaken
Inaugural Exhibtion, Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, Tokyo
Art & Entrepreneurship, Credit Suisse, Chelsea Art Museum, New York
The Dark Fair, Swiss Institute, New York
The Otherside , The 58 Gallery, New Jersey
Yours, Mine and Ours, University Gallery, Gallery Of Essex, Colchester

Bloodbath and Beyond, Hiromi, Tokyo
Lyon biennial of Art, Lyon
Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow
Fit To print, Gagosian Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York

Art On Paper, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Thank You For The Music, Spruth Magers Lee, London
Panic Room – Works From the dakis Joannou collection, Deste Foundation Athens
Clarissa Dalrymple;’s Exhibitiom of Young Artists to benefit the Foundation For Contemporaty Arts, Bortolami Dayan gallery, New York

Uncertain States Of America, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo
Performa 05, Performa, New York
Thank you For The Music, Spruth Magers Lee, Munich
Greater New York, P S 1, Contemporary Art center, New York

Incantations, Metro Pictures, New York, NY
The New Gothic: Art for the Tortured Soul, (with Olaf Breuning, Steven Klein, Pierre Molinier, Ewoud Van Rijn, Markus Selg, and Floria Sigismondi), Cokkie Snoei, Rotterdam, Sweden
Happy Days are Here Again, David Zwirner, New York, NY
My People Were Fair..., Team Gallery, NY
Domestic Porn, Foksal Foundation Gallery, Warsaw, Poland
Le Cabinet des Collages, D'Amelio Terras, NY
California Earthquakes, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York, NY
Socle du Monde, Herning Kunstmuseum, Herning, Germany
Anima/Botanica, Branch New York, NY
04. Preview Collection, Hiromi Yoshii, Tokyo, Japan

Today's Man, John Connelly Presents, NY
Regarding Amy, Greene Naftali Gallery, NY
Now Playing, D'amelio Terras, NY
Group Show, Grant Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
Surreal Estate, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, NY
Group Show, Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan, Italy
Brewster 2003, Brewster, NY
Karaoke Death Machine, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York City
Branch New York: First Biennial Group Show - Anima/Botanica, Branch Gallery, NY
Costume and Set collaboration with Claude Wampler: stable (Stupidity Project Part 10), P.S. 122 Performance Space, NY
Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition: Welcome Home, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, NY

Bathroom Group Show, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York City
Two For the Road, with Delia R. Gonzalez + Gavin R. Russom, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, NY
It's a Wild Party and We're Having a Great Time, Paul Morris Gallery, New York, NY

Coat Check, with Claude Wampler, Contact Studios, Brooklyn, NY.
Zeek Sheck Collaboration, Knitting Factory, NY

GentleHeights, Manhattan Public Access Television, NY

The Self Esteem Salon, for Cherie Nevers, Whitney Biennial, NY
M.I.M.E.: History Part One, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, NY
Slide Show, John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI

The Car ShowReported Injuries Art Space, Brooklyn, NY

Fleshy Juggler Collaboration with Scoli Acosta and Hall of Fame, Brownies, New York, NY
Rejoice Collaboration with Scoli Acosta Rubulad - The Strip Show, Brooklyn, NY
¡Gringo!, La Panderia, Mexico City, Mexico

Beck and Al Hansen Benefit, Thread Waxing Space, NY
New York Society of Fondness and Appreciation, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, NY
Fancy Pantz School of Dance Collaboration with Alex Bag & Tom Borgese, Gramercy Art Fair, NY
The Lucky Breeders Barbershop Quartet, The Cooler, NY
Current - A Human Buffet Collaboration with Scoli Acosta, Here Arts Gallery, NY
Cult of Claude Here Arts Gallery, NY
“Home Shopping Channel,” for Chivas Clem's Fifth International, NY

Sauna Hut Available, Chorus Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

Midwest Bound, Chorus Gallery, Minneapolis, MN