Richard Artschwager forged a unique path in art from the early 1950s through the early twenty-first century, making the visual comprehension of space and the everyday objects that occupy it strangely unfamiliar. His work has been variously described as Pop art, because of its derivation from utilitarian objects and incorporation of commercial and industrial materials; as Minimal art, because of its geometric forms and solid presence; and as conceptual art, because of its cool and cerebral detachment. But none of these classifications adequately define the aims of an artist who specialized in categorical confusion and worked to reveal the levels of deception involved in pictorial illusionism. In his work, an anonymous sheet of walnut-pattern Formica is both itself and a depiction of a wooden plane; a table or chair is furniture, sculpture, and image all at once; and a painting or sculpture can be a “multi-picture” or “three-dimensional still life.” Artschwager foregrounded the structures of perception, striving to conflate the world of images—which can be apprehended but not physically grasped—and the world of objects, the same space that we ourselves occupy. His last body of work marked a departure from his previous series, in that the images he composed from sources in popular culture communicated overt, if deadpan, allusions to contemporary political issues.
Artschwager was born in 1923 in Washington, DC, and died in 2013 in Albany, New York. After receiving a BA in 1948 from Cornell University, New York, he studied under Amédée Ozenfant, one of the pioneers of abstraction. In the early 1950s Artschwager became involved in cabinetmaking, producing simple pieces of furniture. After a ruinous workshop fire at the end of the decade, he began making sculpture using leftover industrial materials, then expanded into painting, drawing, site-specific installation, and photo-based work. Artschwager’s first exhibition took place at the Art Directions Gallery, New York, in 1959, and was followed by the first of many solo exhibitions with Leo Castelli in 1965. Solo exhibitions include Up and Across, Neues Museum, Nuremberg, Germany (2001, traveled to Serpentine Gallery, London); Museum für angewandte Kunst (MAK), Vienna (2002); Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2003, traveled to Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, Germany, and Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich); Painting Then and Now, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2003); Up and Down/Back and Forth, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin (2003); Hair, Contemporary Art Museum, Saint Louis (2010); Richard Artschwager!, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2012, traveled to Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Haus der Kunst, Munich, and Nouveau Musée National de Monaco); and Punctuating Space: The Prints and Multiples of Richard Artschwager, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York (2015).
Live in Your Head
Richard Artschwager’s Cabinet of Curiosities
January 17–March 7, 2020
Davies Street, London
January 16–February 23, 2019
980 Madison Avenue, New York
No More Running Man
January 9–February 22, 2014
980 Madison Avenue, New York
September 27–October 31, 2012
January 24–March 8, 2008
555 West 24th Street, New York
January 12–February 25, 2006
February 25–April 12, 2003
Heddon Street, London
April 5–May 4, 2002
555 West 24th Street, New York
Thursday, March 5, 2020, 6:30pm
Gagosian, Britannia Street, London
Join Gagosian for a tour of the group exhibition American Pastoral. The show juxtaposes modern and contemporary works with historical American landscapes ranging from Albert Bierstadt’s depiction of the sublime in Sunset over the River (1877) to Edward Hopper’s tranquil seaside scene, Gloucester Harbor (1926). Gagosian’s Alice Godwin will focus on a select grouping of exhibited works that seek to challenge the idealized vision of the American Dream that has long been a rich topic of inquiry for artists in the United States. To attend the free event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited.
Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins
The Extreme Present
Opening reception: Tuesday, December 3, 5–8pm
December 4–8, 2019
Moore Building, Miami
Gagosian is pleased to announce The Extreme Present, the fifth in a series of annual exhibitions at the Moore Building in the Miami Design District during Art Basel Miami Beach, presented by Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch. The Extreme Present will explore artists’ reactions to the conditions of our accelerating and increasingly complex world. The title is inspired by The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, a book by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, published in 2015. Their provocative thesis addresses the rapidly evolving digital era, half a century after Marshall McLuhan’s groundbreaking study on technology’s influence on culture, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, in which he coined the phrase “the medium is the message.” Works in this exhibition explore concepts of media, communication, togetherness, and isolation.
The Extreme Present
A line (a)round an idea
Selected Works on Paper
Saturday, June 22, 2019, 11am
This event has been canceled.
Join us for a tour of A line (a)round an idea at Gagosian, Geneva. The exhibition, which presents black-and-white works on paper spanning a period of seventy years, includes work by Richard Artschwager, Georg Baselitz, Bruce Conner, Willem de Kooning, Günther Förg, Sam Francis, Keith Haring, Christine Hiebert, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Brice Marden, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, and others. Gagosian’s Johan Nauckhoff will give an overview of the exhibition, focusing on ways in which modern and contemporary artists have explored the clarity and activating power of the simple line, mark, splatter, or stroke. To attend the free event, RSVP to email@example.com. Space is limited.
Installation view, A line (a)round an idea: Selected Works on Paper, Gagosian, Geneva, May 2–July 27, 2019. Artwork, left to right: © Cy Twombly Foundation; © 2019 Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © 2019 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Serra; © 2019 Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Opening this Week
February 29–May 10, 2020
Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
This retrospective, curated by Germano Celant and Manuel Cirauqui, celebrates Richard Artschwager’s diverse artistic production. By subtly altering the familiar, Artschwager’s art challenges accepted notions of the real and encourages unconventional ways of seeing. This exhibition has traveled from the Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto in Italy.
Installation view, Richard Artschwager, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy, October 12, 2019–February 2, 2020. Artwork © 2020 Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Luca Meneghel
Craft in Art, 1950–2019
November 22, 2019–January 2021
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 foregrounds how visual artists have explored the materials, methods, and strategies of craft over the past seven decades. Some expand techniques with long histories, such as weaving, sewing, or pottery, while others experiment with clay, beads, and glass, among other mediums. Work by Richard Artschwager, Mike Kelley, Shio Kusaka, and Sterling Ruby is included.
Shio Kusaka, (line 5), 2010 © Shio Kusaka
October 12, 2019–February 2, 2020
Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy
This retrospective, curated by Germano Celant, celebrates Richard Artschwager’s diverse artistic production. By subtly altering the familiar, Artschwager’s art challenges accepted notions of the real and encourages unconventional ways of seeing.
Richard Artschwager, Self-Portrait, 2003 © 2019 Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
May 11–December 1, 2019
Hall Art Foundation, Reading, Vermont
This exhibition includes approximately forty paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the Hall Collection that span Richard Artschwager’s career from 1964 to 2011.
Richard Artschwager, Splatter Piano, 1999 © 2019 Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York