Richard Artschwager at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, through Autumn, 2020

“The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents the exhibition Richard Artschwager, a unique occasion to survey the creative career of Richard Artschwager (Washington, D.C., 1923 – Albany, New York, 2013), an artist who worked halfway between painting and sculpture and who developed a unique language using the new domestic materials of his time. This ambitious project, conceived by world-renowned curator Germano Celant and co-organized by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and MART – Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, comprises almost 70 pieces alongside a selection of rarely-seen archival documentation.

Designed as an open labyrinth highlighting the main nuclei of Artschwager’s oeuvre, the exhibition features a comprehensive selection of paintings and sculptures dating from the early 1960s to the first decade of the 21st century: from his first wood and Formica structures and paintings on Celotex to his nylon-bristle sculptures and ‘corner pieces,’ including works in horsehair and so-called blps, which the artist began making in 1968 and displaying individually or on a citywide scale. Artschwager, who had a crucial experience as a cabinetmaker at the beginning of his career, always worked toward the fusion of figuration and abstraction, artistic innovation and design, and ironically sought to combine the functional and the useless.” ― Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Table and Chair

Richard Artschwager. Table and Chair, 1963-64. Melamine and wood. 755 x 1320 x 952 mm. Object: 1143 x 438 x 533 mm. Tate: Purchased 1983. Photo: Tate © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

Museum Ludwig, ML, Richard Artschwager, Apartment House, ML/SK 5161, Köln

Richard Artschwager. Apartment House, 1964. Liquitex, Celotex, Formica. 177 x 126.5 x 16 cm. Museum Ludwig, Köln. Donation Collection Ludwig, 1976 © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Fabrikhalle, 1969. Acrylic paint on drywall and chipboard, HPL. 73.30 x 92.60 x 7 cm. Museum Ulm – Stiftung Sammlung Kurt Fried. Photo: Armin Buhl © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Tower III (Confessional), 1980. Formica and oak. 152.5 x 119 x 81.1 cm. Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, permanent loan to the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel. Photo: Bisig & Bayer, Basel Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Two Point Perspective, 1994. Acrylic on Celotex, Formica on wood, acrylic on wood. 136 x 139 x 5 cm. Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Heinz and Marianne Ebers-Stiftung © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Door }, 1983-84. Acrylic and lacquer on wood and glass, metal, two parts. 207.6 x 165.1 x 24.8 cm. Collection Kerstin Hiller and Helmut Schmelzer, on loan to Neues Museum Nürnberg. Photo: Annette Kradisch © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Search for Tomorrow, 2004. Acrylic and fiber panel on artist’s frame. 120.6 x 189.2 cm. Private collection © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Exclamation Point, 2010. Plastic bristles on a mahogany core painted with latex. 165.1 × 55.9 × 55.9 cm. Private collection. Courtesy Gallery Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. Photo: Allan Bovenberg © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Standing woman (Dirne), 1999. Acrylic, rubberized hair on Masonite. 213.4 x 114.3 x 6.4 cm. Private collection, Vienna © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. City of Man, 1981. Acrylic and charcoal on Celotex and plastic laminate with plexiglass. 197.5 × 458 × 13.3 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Promised gift of Emily Fisher Landau P.2010.17.a-c © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Portrait Zero, 1961. Wood, screws, and rope. 114.9 x 68.7 x 14 cm. Sammlung Michalke, Germany © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Weave (Green), 1991. Acrylic and Celotex on panel. 171.2 x 131 x 9 cm. Courtesy Galleria Alfonso Artiaco, Napoli. Photo: Luciano Romano © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Table Prepared in the Presence of Enemies II, 1992. Wood, metal, screws and Formica. The SYZ Collection, Switzerland © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. Splatter Table, 1992. Laminate, wood, aluminum. Variable dimensions. Collection S.M.A.K., Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst Ghent © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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Richard Artschwager. This Way – That Way, 2012. Acrylic on handmade paper on soundboard. 130 x 116.8 cm. Augustus and Clara Artschwager Collection, Courtesy of Gagosian © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

Richard Artschwager was curated by Germano Celant and Manuel Cirauqui, curator of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Images courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.