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Guide to the Pam Butler Good Girl Archive
ca. 1992-2011
 MSS.322

Fales Library and Special Collections
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Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Colin Torre, 2012. Media updates by Rhyannon J. Rodriguez.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 19, 2017
Description is in English.

Biographical

Pam Butler is an American fine artist whose work generally explores ideas of social construction and female identity.

Born in 1956, Butler grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York, and moved to New York City in 1978. In 1992, while working as a bookkeeper, she began pasting homemade posters onto buildings, lamposts, and other city fixtures. The black and white images, done in marker, depicted a stylized woman accompanied by a perjorative ("Good Girl," "Whore," "Angel" etc.). By the end of the year the work had become a familiar presence in lower Manhattan; 10,000 posters, consisting of over 230 drawings, were eventually put up over a two-year period ending in 1994.

Butler's next project, titled "Win," incorporated the cumulative and serendipitous qualities of her earlier street art into an interactive public work. Viewers were invited by Butler's posters and flyers to call and write in to an entity called the Win Line, and share their reactions to various questions related to success ("Have you ever won the lottery?", "Suppose your life ws all over and you hadn't gotten the grand prize yet?"). Responses were recorded on an answering machine, and in public using video.

These projects could be considered in the tradition of other New York street and public artists like Keith Haring, AVANT, and Jenny Holzer. Since the 1990s she has continued to make and exhibit her art. Butler received a MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1990, and has exhibited at P.S. 122, White Columns, Artists Space, FDR Gallery, and Visual Arts Gallery.