Gagosian Hong Kong is pleased to present Figures in a Landscape, an exhibition of paintings and photographs by gallery artists including Cecily Brown, Glenn Brown, Roe Ethridge, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Phillips, and Richard Prince.
Inspired by Roy Lichtenstein’s 1985 painting, Figures in a Landscape explores the classical artistic theme that remains of persistent interest to contemporary artists the world over. Here, three generations of artists, in works spanning more than twenty-five years, elaborate on the theme in paint on canvas, photography, or a synthesis of the two, producing images that are highly diverse in approach, content, and effect.
The late Pop icon Roy Lichtenstein is represented by a modern homage to the landscape idylls of French Classicism, with its abstracted scene of nymphs dancing in a forest. In contrast to the sketchy yet meticulously rendered flatness of Lichtenstein’s composition, Cecily Brown’s Figures in a Landscape I (2001) is a sensuous mélange of fleshy oil paint that recalls the loose brushwork and jumbled forms of Abstract Expressionism. Jeff Koons’s Waterfall Dots (Tree Rocks) (2008), with its oscillating visual field and anatomical overdrawing, revisits Marcel Duchamp’s famous Étant donnés, where a primordial landscape provides the backdrop for a mysterious naked female body.
In the 1980s, Richard Prince began “rephotographing” commercial photography, underscoring the pervasive influence of art history in the construction of advertising and popular visual media. Untitled (Cowboys) (1999), a sweeping mountain landscape with a rainbow cropped from an iconic Marlboro advertisement from the 1980s, is deeply indebted to the American Romantic landscape painting tradition as typified by the Hudson River School, while Roe Ethridge’s somber first-degree photographs provide a rather less heroic and more melancholy view of the contemporary American vernacular. Directly opposed to Ethridge’s low-key, gritty realism are the surreal and highly artificial compositions by Glenn Brown and Richard Phillips, in which figures emerge from backgrounds as if from a black-box theatrical set or a lurid landscape backdrop.
Picture Books: Percival Everett and Brandon Taylor
The second installment of Picture Books, an imprint organized by Emma Cline and Gagosian, presents author Percival Everett’s novella Grand Canyon, Inc. alongside Untitled (Original Cowboy), a photograph by Richard Prince. In celebration of the publication, Everett met with author Brandon Taylor to discuss the novella, the role of history in the writing process, and the similarity in methodologies for science and literature.
Glenn Brown and Jacky Klein
Glenn Brown speaks with art historian Jacky Klein about working between mediums, his first finished painting of 2021, and the evolution of his artistic voice.
Jacoba Urist profiles the legendary collector.
Augurs of Spring
As spring approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, Sydney Stutterheim reflects on the iconography and symbolism of the season in art both past and present.
The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters
Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.
Richard Prince: Cowboy
On the occasion of the publication of Richard Prince: Cowboy, a major monograph on the artist’s preoccupation with the mythic American West, Lucy Sante tracks the archetype through mass media, advertising, and the art of Richard Prince to illuminate the cowboy’s enduring appeal.