Rick Lowe’s extensive body of work in painting, drawing, and installation is paired with numerous collaborative projects, undertaken in the spirit and tradition of “social sculpture.” Working closely with individuals and communities, Lowe has identified myriad ways to exercise creativity in the context of everyday activities, harnessing it to explore concerns around equity and justice. In his paintings and drawings, he has developed a visual language based on aerial photographs of dominoes games that reveal their resemblance to maps of urban districts. By tracing and layering the patterns he discovers, he produces works that, while visually abstract, represent the reconfiguration and movement of communities over time.
Launched in 2020, Artist Spotlight is presented once a month as a regular part of the gallery’s programming. Each Artist Spotlight highlights a work by an individual artist—made available exclusively online for forty-eight hours—together with new editorial features and selected archival content.
Artist Spotlight: Rick Lowe features a new painting by the artist, related stylistically to his dominoes works and inspired by his ongoing public project in Athens produced in collaboration with Maria Papadimitriou, Victoria Square Project (2016–). For more information, please contact the gallery at email@example.com.
Photo: Brent Reaney
Behind the Art
Rick Lowe: In the Studio
Join Rick Lowe in his Houston studio as he speaks about his recent paintings, describing their connections to his long engagement with the activity of dominoes and to his community-based projects created in the tradition of social sculpture.
David Adjaye, Rick Lowe, and Thelma Golden
Rick Lowe and Sir David Adjaye join Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, for a conversation on the occasion of the exhibition Social Works at Gagosian, New York. The trio explore Adjaye and Lowe’s shared interests in architecture, community building, and the relationship between space and the Black body.
Social Works: Rick Lowe and Walter Hood
Rick Lowe and Walter Hood speak about Black space, the built environment, and history as a footing for moving forward as part of “Social Works,” a supplement guest edited by Antwaun Sargent for the Summer 2021 issue of the Quarterly.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2021
The Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006) on its cover.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 12pm EDT
As part of Talking to Our Time program, an online series of artist talks organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, Rick Lowe will be joined by Gagosian director Antwaun Sargent to discuss how creativity can empower people and communities to spark economic, social, and political change. The pair will speak about Lowe’s community-based initiatives, such as Project Row Houses and Greenwood Art Project, as well as his paintings and drawings based on a visual language developed from aerial photographs of dominoes, a game he often plays with residents of his social projects. To join the online event, register at smithsonian.zoom.us.
Left: Rick Lowe. Photo: Brent Reaney. Right: Antwaun Sargent. Photo: Chase Hall
Gagosian is pleased to announce the representation of Rick Lowe. Lowe’s numerous collaborative projects, undertaken in the spirit and tradition of “social sculpture,” are paired with an extensive body of work in painting, drawing, and installation. Working closely with individuals and communities, he has identified myriad ways to exercise creativity in the context of everyday activities, harnessing it to explore concerns around equity and justice. Influenced by Joseph Beuys’s formulation of “social sculpture,” he has moved from figurative “anti-painting” to the making and maintenance of projects aimed at the transformation of social structures and sites, and to symbolic abstract painting.
Lowe will inaugurate the third season of Gagosian’s Artist Spotlight series on September 29. His first solo exhibition at the gallery is scheduled for fall 2022 at Gagosian New York.
Rick Lowe. Photo: Brent Reaney
Rick Lowe: G.A.P. Van
PBS American Portrait
Rick Lowe discusses his G.A.P. Van (2021), a mobile, multidisciplinary art production and performance space that aims to foster a sense of community and healing among the residents of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Traveling through the neighborhood, the van serves as a mobile healing space where the community can—through a participatory process of making and exhibiting posters—archive and acknowledge the trauma of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 while celebrating the vibrant energy of “Black Wall Street.”
Rick Lowe, G.A.P. Van, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2021 © Rick Lowe Studio
Rick Lowe in
Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40
Through December 19, 2021
Various locations in Chicago
Organized by the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago in collaboration with more than two dozen partner organizations across the city, Toward Common Cause is a multi-venue exhibition exploring the extent to which certain resources—air, land, water, and even culture—can be held in common. Raising questions about inclusion, exclusion, ownership, and rights of access, the exhibition considers art’s vital role in society as a call to vigilance, a way to bear witness, and a potential act of resistance. Presented on the fortieth anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program, Toward Common Cause employs the Fellows Program as an “intellectual commons” and features work by twenty-nine artists who have been named Fellows since the program’s founding in 1981, including Rick Lowe. For the exhibition, Lowe has created his first Chicago-based social sculpture, Black Wall Street Journey, a three-part citywide project that pays tribute to the building of Black wealth, using public art to tell stories from the journeys of Black communities in Chicago and beyond.
Rick Lowe, Black Wall Street Journey, 2018–, installation view, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 2021 © Rick Lowe Studio. Photo: Michael Tropea
New Paintings & Drawings
September 26, 2020–April 24, 2021
Art League Houston
New Paintings & Drawings is an exhibition of recent work by Rick Lowe, the Art League Houston 2020 Texas Artist of the Year. Created between 2017 and 2020, the works on view feature Lowe’s signature vivid explorations of color and complex visualizations of compositional space, and include his multilayered abstract paintings often depicting aerial views of domino games.
Installation view, Rick Lowe: New Paintings & Drawings, Art League Houston, September 26, 2020–April 24, 2021. Artwork © Rick Lowe Studio. Photo: Alex Barber
Rick Lowe in
April 8–September 17, 2017
Victoria Square, Athens
As part of Documenta 14, Rick Lowe collaborated with Maria Papadimitriou on Victoria Square Project (2016–), a social sculpture that strives to empower the local community through creative experiences. By building artistic spaces of belonging and refuge for locals and immigrants alike, this ongoing project gives new life and a sense of familial space to a somewhat polarized and forgotten community, stricken by grief and displacement during the recent refugee crisis in Greece.
Rick Lowe (in collaboration with Maria Papadimitriou), Victoria Square Project, 2016– © Rick Lowe Studio. Photo: Freddie Faulkenberry
October 19, 2013–February 16, 2014
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas
Rick Lowe’s community art project Trans.lation takes place in Vickery Meadow, a three-square-mile area that makes up one of the most culturally diverse sections of Dallas and is home to thirty thousand residents speaking as many as twenty-seven languages. The project helps facilitate a new vision of what public space and interaction can look like in the neighborhood, identifying residents’ creative strengths and connecting them with local artists for collaboration and mentorship to ultimately engender opportunity and entrepreneurship. Trans.lation culminates in a series of pop-up markets that enable the Vickery Meadow community to share their artistic talents and cultural traditions with one another and the greater Dallas community.
Rick Lowe, Trans.lation: Vickery Meadow, 2013 © Rick Lowe Studio. Photo: Rick Lowe