The following was written just a week before Richard Artschwager passed away.
An artist’s work, especially the work of a great artist, lives on long after they have gone. And so Artschwager will continue to influence and inspire artists and curators, even those who have yet to arrive. He is still, in every sense of the term, an artist to watch.
Just think of what he brought together:
minimalism and pop art,
site-specificity and specific objects,
abstraction and representation,
natural and industrial materials,
social and institutional critique,
created a visual language of his own,
with plenty of humor and an uncanny mind.
He gives us a new way of seeing things in the world,
and a world,
that had been there all along.
At the age of 90, and still at work,
is an artist to learn from,
and an Artist-To Watch.
BOB NICKAS is an independent critic and curator based in New York. He has organized more than eighty exhibitions since 1984, and served as Curatorial Advisor at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York from 2004 to 2007. Nickas has published two collections of writing: Live Free or Die: Collected Writings 1985-1999 (les presses du reel) in 2000 and Theft is Vision (JRP/Ringier) in 2008. He has also authored several books, including Painting Abstraction: New Elements In Abstract Painting (Phaidon, 2009), and Catalogue of the Exhibition (2nd Cannons Publications, 2011). He is one of the authors of Defining Contemporary Art: 25 Years In 200 Pivotal Artworks (Phaidon, 2011), and recently completed a Chris Johanson monograph, to be published in Sept. 2013. His writing has appeared in Artforum, Frieze, and Mousse, as well as in numerous monographs and catalogues. Nickas occasionally releases limited edition records on his own label, From the Nursery. To date there have been two albums by Orphan, a grunge metal duo from Brooklyn; XXX Macareña, a trio comprised of Tony Conrad, Jutta Koether, and John Miller; and 12-inch EPs by the Melvins and Adam McEwen. Nickas’s column, Komp-Laint Dept., appears monthly on vice.com
Photo of Bob by Jason Metcalf