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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


Additional:

Richard Prince

Cindy Sherman Richard Prince: Astrup Fearnley Collection (dual exhibition)
Fundación Malba - Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
28 June - 29 October 2018

An exhibition devoted to two leading figures in contemporary photography, whose work revolutionized the field in the latter half of the 20th century. Divided into two large galleries, the exhibition compares and contrasts the styles of both artists through a selection of 34 photos –most of them large-scale–, from the collection of Oslo's Astrup Fearnley Museum, which, since its founding in 1993, has focused on assembling a vast range of output by leading figures in international contemporary art. The show will include the most representative series in the careers of each artist, from the late '70s to the present day: for Richard Prince, this means Cowboys and Spiritual America –with Brooke Shields–, for Cindy Sherman, the famous self-portraits of Untitled Film Still[s] and History Portraits.

Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince came out of the movement known as the Pictures Generation, which took shape in the New York scene of the mid-1970s, among artists working with the idea of appropriation of images from popular culture and the mass media. Key figures in the movement, Sherman and Prince are masters of social critique and of transformation in the medium of photography.

Fundación Malba - Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires


Richard Prince

Cowboys: Selected Works from the Collection (solo show)
Espace culturel Louis Vuitton, Beijing
13 April - 2 September 2018

© Richard Prince, all rights reserved © Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York
© Richard Prince, all rights reserved © Courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York

For its third exhibition, the Espace Louis Vuitton Beijing presents Cowboys, an exhibition dedicated to American artist Richard Prince. This exhibition has been produced in the framework of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s “Hors-les-murs” program, showcasing previously unseen holdings of the Collection at the Espaces Culturels Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Venice and Beijing, thus carrying out the Fondation’s intent to realize international projects and make them accessible to a broader public.

Richard Prince belongs to the generation of American artists who grew up in the 1950s at the time of the explosion of mass media (television, cinema, magazines). He appeared on the international scene during the late 1970s alongside Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine and Barbara Kruger, as a major proponent of appropriation art. He deconstructed the mechanisms of representation and communication promoted by American popular culture. In 1977 his practice took a radical turn when he started re-using advertising images, which he photographed and appropriated. Cutting out the text logo, he reframed the images, creating blurred effects and emphasising colour. Working largely in series form, his subjects were models, cowboys and women on motorbikes. One of his most well-known series working in this vein is the Cowboys series, appropriating the advertising campaign images of Marlboro cigarettes.

Beginning in the 1950s Marlboro ads featured cowboys riding through the wide open terrain of the Wild West in the United States of America. The cowboy was an instantly recognisable icon, wearing denim, leather chaps, boots, spurs, and Stetson hat. Almost exclusively white, he is portrayed as handsome, weathered, and physically fit. Both a role model and sex symbol, the cowboy appeals to men and women alike. By the mid-1960s the “Marlboro Man”, as this figure became known, was so recognisable and brand-identified that Philip Morris was able to drop all direct references to cigarettes in its ads in favour of subtly alluring smokers to come, and be part of, the epic Western landscape of “Marlboro Country”.

The Espace Louis Vuitton Beijing invites you to experience emblematic works from the Collection of Prince’s Cowboys  series, including: Untitled (Cowboy)  (1994), Mountain Cowboys  (1998-89) and The Blue Cowboys  (1999). Comprised of eight works in total, these photographs exemplify this important and renowned moment in Prince’s oeuvre. Through appropriation by the means of ‘re-photography’, Prince turned the cowboy into an emblematic, complex object, expressing nostalgia for a mythical, foundational period while highlighting the stereotype through “clichés”.

Fondation Louis Vuitton