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rob pruitt and Jonathan horowitz Recent works


Opening Wednesday 14 December, 6–8pm Exhibition 14 December 2016 – 29 January 2017

cover: Jonathan Horowitz Group Self-portrait in “Mirror #3 (Six Panels)” (Vin, Tom, Mikhail, Katie, Fumi, Austin) acrylic on linen 304.8 x 335.3 cm (overall size) 2015

rob pruitt and Jonathan horowitz Recent works


rob pruitt Exquisite Self-Portrait: Title TBC silkscreen on canvas 217.8 x 161.3 cm 2015

Rob Pruitt is a major figure in the contemporary art scene in New York. He works in a broad spectrum of media, from sculpture, installation and print to painting and conceptual forays. Over the last twenty years his work has, by critical consensus, reached a new level of maturity and importance. His recent show at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise (New York), which included the series Suicide Paintings, was considered by Roberta Smith, the art critic for the New York Times, as “possibly the best of his career.” The work in this exhibition particularly focuses on his painting practice through two major series: his signature Panda series (started in 2001) and the more recent Suicide Paintings. Because contemporary artists like Pruitt can choose to represent ideas in whichever way they choose, there is a conscious choice here to utilise painting as the frame. Because of this, Pruitt’s work has been characterised as post-conceptual painting, in that it is a form of painting that comes after the ‘anything goes’ of contemporary art. Post-conceptual painting holds in it the history and traditions of painting as well as the wit and ideas of conceptual art, minimalism and other approaches of late modernism. His signature series Panda clearly references Warhol’s serial approach to images. The longer Pruitt pursues this project the more thorough the conceptual serialism becomes. Warhol’s schtick was that everything was merely surface, and that paintings meant almost nothing; he used to insist that he had others at The Factory choose the subject matter and images for him. But critics have subsequently pointed to the more serious subject matter (riots, electric chairs, The Last Supper etc) to suggest that his work did mean something and was a critique of society at the time. In the end it is up to the viewer to decide whether his images are in earnest or ironic pastiche. Pruitt’s Pandas seem to function in the same way, between kitsch and the serious politics of the Anthropocene. In interviews the artist has asserted the panda was his childhood favourite, a personal totem. The panda is cuddly, kind and bumbling, a friendly giant, that sits cross legged, like a scholar hermit, in bamboo groves. It is present in visual culture from Harajuku girl hair ties to the iconic logo of the World Wildlife Fund. Pruitt has said that the panda is a reminder of what we are doing to our planet and how we threaten other life forms with our rapacious appetites for space and resources. The paintings sit provocatively somewhere in between direct political activism and the cute. This equivocation drives the concept behind the Suicide Paintings, a very morbid title for such beauteous paintings. If there is a sense of finality in these works they are also completely hopeful, uplifting and intimate. They feel as if Kazimir Malevich had been asked to create a screen saver or Joseph Albers had been commissioned by Pantone, and yet lose none of painting’s ability to point towards the sublime. The colour is intense and overwhelming, and the series is frequently compared to Rothko’s religiosity or even Renaissance skies. And yet the works remain situated in the present, and the hand-painted gradient, the old form of paint on canvas, beautifully mediates our dehumanising digital age with our insistence on life’s meaning. The use of painting, to these conceptual ends, recovers for the dry conceptual art of the seventies the power and constancy of beauty. In both of these series beauty and aesthetic pleasure are a provocation to the materialists, that prefer dirty realness. Both series point towards possibilities of transcendence. Oliver Watts, Writer


Summer acrylic, enamel and glitter on linen 243.8 Ă— 182.8 cm 2016


Midnight Snack (Panda) acrylic, enamel and glitter on canvas 109.2 Ă— 83.8 cm 2016


Summer Love (Pandas) acrylic, enamel, and a glitter on linen in hand painted artist’s frame 246.5 × 190 cm 2016


Suicide Painting XCIII acrylic on linen 205.7 x 274.3 cm 2016

previous spread left: Panda Allegory acrylic, enamel and glitter on linen 243.5 Ă— 183 cm 2014

previous spread right: Panda Allegory (Python) acrylic, enamel and glitter on linen 243.5 Ă— 183 cm 2014


Jonathan horowitz Self-portrait in “Mirror #2” (Paul) acrylic on canvas 152.8 x 122 cm 2014

Jonathan Horowitz slides down the surface of things. He engages with the material of everyday life (from celebrities and celebrity causes to politics and philosophy, from terrorism to the cola wars). He has consistently found incisive metaphors for contemporary society and presented them in complex and rich installations, videos, photographs, paintings and sculpture. This year he was honoured with a Brant Foundation show Occupy Greenwich, which provided a timely reflection on politics in America. In 2009 Horowitz also had an important solo show at MOMA PS1, which cemented him as a prominent voice in socially engaged and critical art. Horowitz’s use of the portrait is particularly interesting. ‘Portrait’ is perhaps a misnomer, however, because of its emphasis on the art genre. Horowitz plays in an almost anthropological way with visual culture and has astutely seen that the celebrity portraits, sculptures, portraits hanging on the wall in town halls are less artworks and actually what they were traditionally called - effigies. There is an ‘image magic’ in a portrait hanging in the public hall. Portraits speak to us from the past, they give us advice, they exhort us to action; they are not merely images on the wall. When Horowitz placed portraits of the 9/11 terrorists surreptitiously around the galleries of the Whitney Biennale they were not merely images but also almost like voodoo dolls, secreting some traumatic power. When he placed portraits of all the presidents in the Brant Foundation he activated the power of the Presidential office, creating a secular Versailles as a stage for his political interventions. The main body of work in this exhibition is Self Portrait in the Mirror. This series is based on repainting Lichtenstein’s mirror works, and they are a joke on a joke. Lichtenstein was already riffing on Abstract Expressionism’s obsession with painterly surface. He painted an image of a mirror as if it was printed as a cheap cartoon. Using stencils and careful masking Lichtenstein replicated the quality of a cheap, Ben-Day dot print. While in a Lichtenstein the painterly quality is still present, the work eschews the great gesture of the genius artist. Horowitz to some extent reinstates the authorly hand. He paints and has others repaint the Lichtenstein, without any aids, and in doing so ‘dials up’ the painterly mistakes. The Ben-Day dots are now not perfect, the lines a little shaky. Shown in series the singularity of each rendition is even more palpable, as the series allows the viewer to immediately contrast the copy with another copy set beside it. The paintings are not really images of mirrors. They embody a struggle in contemporary life: to insist on our individuality while at the same time following an imperative to conform to social values. This series is a perfect metonym for Horowitz’s practice as a whole, in that he re-presents the real, but in a way that highlights the invisible workings of power, ideology and societal belief, often with wit and slight of hand. Oliver Watts, Writer


Self-portrait in “Mirror #12� acrylic on linen 61 cm diameter 2013


Self-portrait in “Mirror #2� (Shara) acrylic on canvas 91 cm diameter 2015


ROB PRUITT Born 1964, Washington DC Lives and works in New York Select Solo Exhibitions since 2010 2016 Rob Pruitt’s Official Art World / Celebrity Look-alikes Series, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, 291 Grand Street, New York Hong Kong Panda, Massimo de Carlo, Hong Kong, China Rob Pruitt Flea Market, LAND, Los Angeles, CA 2015

Rob Pruitt, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit Rob Pruitt, The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwhich, CT Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market, AplusA Gallery, Venice, Italy

2014 ARTLOVERS, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco Three Blind Mice, Museum Dhondt Daenens, Deurle, Belgium Struktur & Organismus, Mühldorf, Austria 2013

Us, Art Unlimited, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland Wild Life, Karma, Amagansett, NY The Last Panda, Gavin Brown’s enterprise at 436 W. 15th St., New York Rob Pruitt: An American Folk Artist, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen The Suicide Paintings, Massimo de Carlo, London, UK

2012 The Andy Monument, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX Faces: People and Pandas, Massimo de Carlo, Milan, Italy History of the World, Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany 2011 Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX The Andy Monument, Public Art Fund, New York Air de Paris, Paris, France 2010

Pattern and Degradation, Gavin Brown’s enterprise & Maccarone, New York iPaintings, Franco Noero Gallery, Torino, Italy Pop Touched Me Book Launch / Autograph Collection, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

Public Events 2012 Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market, Musée de la Monnaie, Nuit des Musées, Paris 2010 Rob Pruitt’s 2010 Art Awards, Guggenheim Museum, New York 2009 Rob Pruitt Presents the First Annual Art Awards, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

JONATHAN HOROWITZ Born 1966, New York (NY) B.A. Philosophy, Wesleyan University, Middletown (CT), USA Select Solo Exhibitions since 2010 2016 Occupy Greenwich,The Brant Foundation Art Study Centre, Greenwich (CT), USA 160 Dots, Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art, NewYork (NY) 2015

160 Dots, (in conjunction with Niele Toroni) Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art, New York (NY) 700 Dots,Gavin Brown enterprise, Frieze New York (NY) 304.8cm Paintings , Sadie Coles HQ, London

2014 590 Dots, 356 Mission, Los Angeles (CA), USA 402 Dots, Line, and the One Note Samba, Karma, New York (NY) Plants, Mirrors, Coke/Pepsi Paintings and More, Xav ier Hufkens, Brussels 2013 Mrs. Carter and the Diet Cola for Men War, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, Germany FREE STORE, Art Unlimited, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland 2012

Your Land/My Land: Election ’12, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (MO), USA; Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh (NC), USA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (CA), USA; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (TX), USA; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (UT), USA; Telfair Museums, Savannah (GA), USA; and New Museum, New York (NY) Secret Life, Sadie Coles HQ, London (with Elizabeth Peyton) Self Portraits in Mirror #1, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York (NY) Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin

2011 Art, History, Sadie Coles HQ, London 2010

minimalist works from the holocaust museum, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, Scotland Martin Creed – Jonathan Horowitz, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York (NY) Go Vegan!, La Frieda Meats, New York (NY) Beg Borrow and Steel, Rubell Familly Collection, Miami (FL) USA

Public Collections Altoids Curiously Strong Collection - New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (NY); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris: Collection Lambert, Avignon, France; Frankfurt Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt, Germany; Le Musee d’Art Moderne Gand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg; Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, Zurich, Switzerland; Metropolitan Museum of Art New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (CA), USA; Museum of Modern Art, New York (NY) Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; S.M.A.K, Ghent, Belgium; Tate Modern, London


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ROB PRUITT & JONATHAN HOROWITZ