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Richard Prince

Richard Prince: Untitled (Cowboy) (solo show)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
3 December 2017 - 25 March 2018

In two photographic series from the 2010s, publicly exhibited for the first time, Richard Prince (United States, b. 1949) continues his career-long engagement with the motif of the cowboy. Untitled (cowboy), recently acquired by LACMA, and Untitled (original cowboy) achieve the grandeur of 19th-century history painting while also deconstructing the iconography of the American West. Once again challenging the conventional meanings and limits of the photographic medium, Prince reignites debates he sparked some 40 years ago.

In the mid-1970s, Prince was an aspiring painter working in Time Inc.’s tear sheet department, clipping texts for magazine writers. After he removed the articles, he was left with advertisements: glossy pictures of commodities, models, and other objects of desire. Between 1980 and 1992, Prince paid particular attention to the motif of the cowboy, as depicted in a series of advertisements for Marlboro cigarettes. Prince began to re-photograph the advertisements, cropping and enlarging them to make limited-edition prints as artworks of his own. Prince’s re-photography had an explosive effect on the art world, provoking lawsuits and setting auction records. With this controversial practice, he redefined what it means to “take” a photograph.

For his 2015–16 Untitled (cowboy) photographs, Prince revisited copies of TIME from the 1980s and 1990s using contemporary technology. In contrast to this studio-based manipulation, for the 2013 series Untitled (original cowboy) Prince went to Utah, seeking out quintessential viewpoints established by legions of photographers—tourists and artists alike—who preceded him. Extending his interrogation of this particular American protagonist into the era of Instagram, Prince demonstrates that the stakes around originality, appropriation, and truth in advertising are as high as ever.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles


Additional:

Jeff Koons, Richard Prince et al.

Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington
14 February – 13 May 2018

Jeff Koons, New! New Too!, 1983 © Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons, New! New Too!, 1983 © Jeff Koons

This spring, the Hirshhorn presents the ‘80s as you’ve never seen it before.  Brand New is the largest museum exhibition to explore the collision of art and commerce in the 1980s, an iconic decade when artwork emerged as a product and the artist, a brand.

Razor-sharp, witty, satirical, and deeply subversive, these more than 150 works from 66 of the most influential artists of the decade reveal the fascinating ways art infiltrated the worlds of advertising and business, launching a revolution that has come to define contemporary art today.

Organized chronologically, Brand New features rarely seen paintings, sculpture and installations from the biggest names in art today, alongside their lesser-known counterparts, including Ashley Bickerton, Jessica Diamond, General Idea, Peter Halley, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Peter Nagy, Joel Otterson, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Haim Steinbach, Meyer Vaisman, and Julia Wachtel, among others. It also features key multimedia installations that recreated for the first time since the 80s, including seminal works by Barbara Bloom, Gretchen Bender, and Krzysztof Wodiczko.

Thirty years ago, seismic shifts in politics, economics and technology brought about a golden era of contemporary art in the United States, particularly in New York City, with its heady Wall Street wealth and gritty streets. During this time, artists became celebrities, brand names, and power brokers, selling themselves and their art as products, forming, in the process, the undisputed center of the contemporary art world.

Consumerism was quickly defining the decade, and the modern brand was driving social culture, led by major multinational companies like Pepsi, Nike, and CNN. It also saw the birth of major cultural forces that continue to shape our world today—MTV. Personal computing. Branding. New Wave. The AIDS epidemic. Reaganomics. Pop-ups. Madonna. Neon. Punk. Gentrification. Cable TV.

Many associate the art of the 1980s with large-scale painting or Neo-Expressionism, but Brand New suggests an alternative history. It looks instead at the key group of New York’s counterculture artists who appropriated the language of modern commerce—logos, advertising, products, even cable television—as a new and unprecedented medium for artistic creation. This radical approach to art making set them apart from artists who commanded the greatest market interest at the time, and by rethinking the connection between objects and concepts in the 1980s, they changed the landscape of the art world forever.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington


Ida Ekblad, Michel Majerus, Richard Prince et al.

Faithless Pictures (group show)
National Museum, Oslo
9 February - 13 May 2018

Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy), 1989. Photo: Astrup Fearnley Museum
Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy), 1989. Photo: Astrup Fearnley Museum

The complex relationship between image and reality has long been one of the most important topics in art.

In this exhibition, the National Museum shows works from the last four decades by more than forty prominent artists. Using a variety of approaches, they all address the surfeit of images we see all around us.

The visual deluge that supposedly represents our lives, our times, our world. News clips, holiday snaps, flickers from the depths of the internet. A fragmented intermediate world, half illusion, half reality. Excerpts and selections. And in the midst of it all: glimpses of truth. Images with the power to change the world.

New times, new questions

It is forty years since Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and the Pictures Generation entered the art scene with their incisive critiques of the clichéd visual culture of television and commercial magazines. A world obsessed with images and illusion.

We are living through a technological revolution. The torrent of images and the balance of power are changing. A smartphone camera in everyone’s pocket. The immediacy and reach of social media. These are new times, and art is posing new questions.

Play, borrow, steal

This exhibition presents iconic, pioneering statements alongside entirely new works. Artists conduct their explorations across a broad front. From film and photo to sculpture and painting. On old newspaper and pages from magazines. From Vibeke Tandberg’s staged images of herself as a young bride and Hito Steyerl’s search for her past as a bondage model, to Alfredo Jaar’s non-photo of Osama Bin Laden’s death and Mike Bouchet’s scintillating porn fragments.

The featured artists address the power of the image over reality and our own self-understanding. They expose the illusion, the manipulation, the masks. They play, borrow, steal. Take control of unclaimed images that define the world. And ask: What truth is possible?


Albert Oehlen, Richard Prince, Christopher Wool et al.

Artists' Books: The Collection (group show)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
1 December 2017 - 2 April 2018

Artists’ books tell stories or take the form of manifestos, archives or political proclamations. Programmatic, narrative, playful, or even appalling, they break with traditional book design to open new creative spaces. Discovered by conceptual artists and the Fluxus movement as an open and versatile medium, the artists’ book has carved out a space for itself since the 1960s as an independent art genre.

In the exhibition Artists’ Books: The Collection, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is for the first time presenting a selection of the best-known publications from its collection of some 1,700 exemplars. The collection got off to its start with minimal and conceptual works in which artists including Sol LeWitt, Ed Ruscha and Lawrence Weiner put their serial and conceptual ideas between the covers of a book in the 1960s and 70s. The Fluxus movement then transcended the usual book format as artists integrated a variety of other media such as music, poetry, actions and happenings as well as spontaneous improvisations. Like the score for a piece of music, the book plays a significant role here as mediator. Artists also began to draw on ordinary everyday materials and methods such as stamps, cut-outs, photocopies, collages and mechanical printing to craft their artworks in book form. The book became a favourite experimental field for trying out new concepts. At the same time, books undermined the hierarchy of the art market, as they are affordable for everyone. The artist’s book therefore stands like hardly any other artistic medium for the democratisation of art.

In addition to the freedom from commercial pressure, the notion of the book as an 'alternative space' has attracted young artists in particular to this medium in recent years. Many are founding their own publishing houses, producing books in small editions and experimenting with new formats. Artists’ record albums as acoustic medium are also enjoying a renaissance.

Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg


Richard Prince

Proof of Life (group show)
Weserburg I Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen
20 May 2017 - 25 February 2018

The construction of the Tower of Babel as a massacre. The artist as a dead revolutionary. A stained-glass window made from butterfly wings. Proof of Life brings together 100 paintings, sculptures and photographic works that investigate existential questions in a both palpable and profound manner. Their aesthetic impact inevitably draws the viewer into its spell. What these works bring to view is linked to a tradition of influential pictures, some of which go far back in time. The presented works simultaneously quote, seduce, irritate, provoke and thematize concepts of moral values. This includes a summons not only to situate in historical terms what is being seen, but also to relate it quite concretely to the present. The works come from a private collection that has never before been publicly presented in this form.

Proof of Life raises the question as to whether and why such images anchored in our memory are still relevant today. The exhibition shows how striking pictorial models are updated in a surprising manner and transformed into new visual inventions. The artistic results are simultaneously fascinating and shocking; the aesthetic experiences they make possible are complex and revelatory. They become documents and symbols of our present era and thus vital signs of contemporary culture.
“The exhibition derives its strength from the impact of the pictures, which in no way excludes deeper insights but instead fosters them. The works don’t immobilize us in wordless veneration but cause astonishment, questioning and doubt which we relate directly to the present. Fundamental questions raised by this exhibition are how art possesses this capability and why certain age-old motifs don’t become petrified manifestations in a museum but instead remain extremely lively.” Peter Friese, Director of the Weserburg

Weserburg I Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen