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Jeff Koons, Richard Prince et al.

Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s (group show)
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


Additional:

Richard Prince

Cowboys: Selected Works from the Collection (solo show)
Espace culturel Louis Vuitton, Beijing
23 March - 22 July 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



Jeff Koons

Plato in LA: Contemporary Artists' Visions (group show)
The Getty Villa, Los Angeles
18 April - 3 September 2018

Jeff Koons, Play-Doh, 1994–2014 © Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons, Play-Doh, 1994–2014 © Jeff Koons

Plato is one of the founding figures of Western civilization. His legacy encompasses ethics, politics, theology, and poetics. In this exhibition at the Getty Villa, a museum exploring classical art and culture, some of today's most celebrated artists consider Plato's impact on the contemporary world. In the form of sculptures, paintings, drawings, and large-scale installations, they respond to his contribution to philosophy—from defining the ideal to understanding the human condition—while fostering the ultimate Platonic experience: contemplation.

The Getty Villa, Los Angeles