Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of sculpture and drawings by Robert Therrien, his first in Los Angeles for more than a decade.
Therrien has clear affinities with the preceding generation of Pop and Conceptual artists, together with inspirations and direct references from folk culture, cartoons, and American design. Working in both two and three dimensions, he transforms elements from the culture of everyday life into works of art that evoke classical archetypes. His deceptively simple oeuvre lends itself to psychological interpretation, given its evident fascination with the narratives of childhood, while remaining firmly objective due to its literal proximity to the real and its relationship to the minimal.
In this exhibition, Therrien presents a scenography of meticulously crafted objects displayed on a maze of tables— a coffin, stacks of sketchbooks, an oilcan, the beak of a stork. Beards made of steel, plaster, and plastic, such as No title (Fake yellow beard) (1999), are placed on tabletops or stands where they hang from armatures, evoking comic-book disguises. The array also includes life-sized beds coiled into spirals, No title (Pink spiral bed), 2011; towering stacks of huge dinner plates (No title, 2006-07); and a large table leg extending from a corner, No title (Table leg) 2010. Collapsing the distinction between the real and the remade, sentiment and satire, these almost ordinary objects appear suspended and altered in a world that is of Therrien’s making.
Robert Therrien was born in 1947 in Chicago, and has been living and working in Los Angeles since 1971. Recent solo exhibitions include Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2006); Kunstmuseum Basel Kupferstichkabinett (2008); De Pont Museum, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2011). Since 2009, a major group of his works has been part of ARTIST ROOMS, a collection of international contemporary art established through The d’Offay Donation with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments — most recently on view at the Scottish National Gallery of Art (2010-11). This exhibition is part of The Getty museum's Southern California exhibition initiative, “Pacific Standard Time.”
“Robert Therrien: Smoke Signals” is currently on view at Tate Liverpool until October 2011.
Robert Therrien: The Causal Link to the (Un)Real
In honor of the extraordinary life of Robert Therrien (1947–2019), Aimee Gabbard writes about her time with the artist and explores his lifelong interest in photography.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Sinking (2019) by Nathaniel Mary Quinn on its cover.
Under the Table
Robert Therrien’s investigations of form, perception, and subjectivity often isolate recognizable elements and objects from everyday life. Blake Gopnik challenges the traditional readings of transformation and the purpose of scale in Therrien’s No title (folding table and chairs, green).
Alexander Wolf discusses the recurring themes and symbols that have emerged throughout Robert Therrien’s artistic career.