041. Richard Jackson

Installation view, ‘Richard Jackson. New Paintings’, Hauser & Wirth, London, UK, 2014.

Postcardwall’s Sophie Hill catches up with Richard Jackson at the preview of his latest solo exhibition, following the ‘activation’ of one of his ‘paintings’ (Pain-t, 2012-14, where 5 fibreglass boys, bending over, were each made to spurt paint out of their bottoms in turn, onto the wall behind).

 

There’s quite a stigma around painting; people tend to shy away from it, especially younger artists. Do you see your distinctive way of ‘painting’ as contributing to the stigma, by being different, or in defense of it?

I guess that this [my work] is just a suggestion of another possibility. You know, I’d like to see painting stick around and be expanded and become something different. Frankly, the kind of painting I’m interested in is realistic painting and the reason is, is that there’s content outside of the art world, you know; most painting is about what we already know. It’s like communicating with each other, a private conversation among other artists and the other part of that is abstract painting.

Installation view, ‘Richard Jackson. New Paintings’, Hauser & Wirth, London, UK, 2014.

I guess that this is just a suggestion of another possibility. You know, I’d like to see painting stick around and be expanded and become something different.

You know, I have an abstract painting in the hotel room I’m staying in; it’s just become like elevator music. You know what I mean? It’s not interesting. And then minimal painting is just really elementary school. Come on. The tradition in Los Angeles – nevermind the more recent sort of image of Los Angeles, because it really hasn’t changed – really the tradition there is decorative painting, from Sam Francis to Richard Diebenkorn. That would be the high end, then go down and there’s just a whole bunch of them and, the gallery that I’m part of in Los Angeles, that’s basically just what they do. There’s another new generation of decorative painters, and they’re just decorating apartments you know. And [my work] it’s really about moving materials about in a different way.

Richard Jackson and Pain-t, 2012-14, Hauser Wirth, London, UK. Photo by Sophie Hill. 

So this [gestures to his work] is a suggestion, you know. Basically, I guess I don’t care what a painting looks like, how you [other artists] spend your time. This is how I spend my time. You know what I mean? And so I don’t have as much commercial success as people who make other things but I’m happier. And there’s enough interest in it for me, giving me things to do.

The thing about it is, is that it’s always been that way. You know growing up or whatever, if you fall in line you’ll be rewarded. Capitalism is a system that feeds the people that conform. 

Tell me about your other works – that don’t need ‘activating’.

This is a bobbing head, you know, when you go to a baseball game, they give you heroes, baseball heroes. You get them free when you go to the game – not all games, sometimes you have to buy them. I don’t know, that’s where I got the idea, but I sort of changed it; the feet are bigger, the head’s bigger and so on. What’s interesting is, just last week they sold something of mine, which they rarely do, but the person who bought my thing owned the Los Angeles Dodgers – the baseball team – she used to own it, she doesn’t now. I don’t care about the sale as much as I care about the interest of somebody that I can identify with [laughs]. 

 

Richard Jackson: New Paintings is at Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row until 26 July 2014. For more information, visit https://www.hauserwirth.com.