Artist in Artists’ Bar, 1950’s, 2016
painted aluminum lightbox with transmounted chromogenic transparency
95 x 71 5/8 x 7 inches (241.3 x 181.9 x 17.8 cm)
courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York
You should be an artist is the title of the solo exhibition by RODNEY GRAHAM that opened on November 18 at Le Consortium in Dijon. GRAHAM is best known for his self-portraits captured in precise settings and which are playing with the representation of the artist itself.
The backstory I concocted for myself is that this character is a professional of some sort who didn’t know very much about art. Maybe he had seen the last show where MORRIS LOUIS exhibited the drips. He is so inspired that he thinks he might try it himself in his living room. I was inspired by the fact that MORRIS LOUIS made those large paintings in his Baltimore kitchen alcove, an area that was much smaller than the paintings themselves. The space was 9 by 12 feet and he worked in from each side, rolling them up and working on less than half the canvas. So the anecdotal thing of LOUIS working at home initiated my interest, and that was increased by his way of painting. He didn’t make studies; he would just drip all day long. His wife would go to work and he would start doing these things. He made hundreds in a very short period of time before he died, and most of them weren’t even stretched. Originally the piece was going to be a fictionalized account of Louis painting in his living room and what might have happened during the day—the postman coming, making himself a sandwich. But it evolved into this other story centred around this hypothetical guy having a late mid-life crisis. You know, just saying, “Fuck it, I’m getting up in the morning in my pyjamas and I’m going to do it.” I was thinking of Hugh Hefner with the pyjamas and the cool pad with a sound system. – RODNEY GRAHAM in conversation with ROBERT ENRIGHT, Bordercrossingsmag.com, 2010
This work is currently part of the exhibition You should be an artist that is running through February 17, 2017 at Le Consortium, Dijon.