Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson


Richard Jackson, The Laundry Room (Death of Marat), 2009. Acrylic paint, metal, wood, linoleum, aquaresin, plastic, fabric, computer, washing machine, 47 1/4 x 224 3/8 x 224 3/8 inches (120 x 570 x 570 cm) (3.9 x 18.7 x 18.7 feet). Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Stephan Altenburger Photography, Zürich.

February 27, 2014

Richard Jackson
Ain’t Painting a Pain

1 March–1 June 2014

Museum for Contemporary Art
Citadelpark, Ghent 

Richard Jackson: Ain’t Painting a Pain is the first retrospective devoted to one of the most radical artists of the last 40 years. Richard Jackson (b. 1939; Sacramento, California) has expanded the possibilities of painting more than any other contemporary figure. From the beginning of his career, he was driven by a relentless desire to build on the advances in painting put forth by Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, and to push the limits of the medium further than ever before. His wildly inventive, exuberant, and irreverent take on “action” painting has dramatically extended its performative and spatial dimensions, merged it with sculpture and architecture, and repositioned it as an art of everyday experience rather than one of heroic myth.

Ain’t Painting a Pain presents a selection of Jackson’s room-size painted environments, large-scale, site-specific wall paintings, a monumental installation of stacked canvases and more recent anthropomorphic “painting machines.” The exhibition includes several recreations of works by artists like Georges Seurat, Marcel Duchamp, Edgar Degas and Jacques-Louis David. Jackson’s practice led him to a nearly twenty-year engagement with canonical works from art history, works that he would reimagine and through which he would continue his ongoing struggle with painting’s past and future, restoring iconoclastic acts of creation, and recalling the rebellious attitudes largely absent in today’s highly institutionalized art world.

Additionally Ain’t Painting a Pain features an extensive selection of preparatory drawings for painted environments, wall paintings and stacked paintings, all of which show Jackson’s meticulous planning process, exquisite draughtsmanship, and the extraordinary amount of labour that the artist invests in these large-scale works, which are ultimately destroyed and live on only in viewers’ minds.

The exhibition connects strongly with S.M.A.K.’s museum history, in particular its previous retrospective presentations by major American artists such as Dara Birnbaum, Paul McCarthy and Maria Nordman. In his very own obsessive way, Jackson parodies not only milestones of European art history, with its very explicit and colourful “paintings,” but in his exhibition also challenges in a liberating manner the sublime and sensitive brushwork we are familiar with from Belgium, a “nation of painters.”

Ain’t Painting a Pain has already been on at the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), Newport, California and Munich’s Villa Stuck Museum, Germany (both in 2013). The exhibition is organized by the OCMA and curated by former OCMA director Dennis Szakacs. It is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Jean and Tim Weiss; the Rennie Collection, Vancouver; and Hauser & Wirth. The catalogue is underwritten by Lenore and Bernard Greenberg. Additional support is provided by the David Kordansky Gallery.

For further information, please contact Els Wuyts: T + 32 (0) 9 240 76 47 / els.wuyts [​at​]

Richard Jackson at S.M.A.K.
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February 27, 2014

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