- Maryte Kavaliauskas
- John Torreano, Malcolm Morley
An artist’s artist, the late Richard Artschwager, who studied math and science at Cornell but went on to study with painter Amédée Ozenfant, “forged a unique path in twentieth century art, making visual comprehension of space and the everyday objects that occupy it strangely unfamiliar. His painting and sculpture have been variously described as Pop Art, because of its derivation from utilitarian objects and incorporation of commercial and industrial materials; as Minimal Art, because of its geometric forms and solid presence; and as Conceptual Art, because of its cool and cerebral detachment. But none of these classifications adequately defines the aims of an artist who specializes in categorical confusion and works to reveal the levels of deception involved in pictorial illusionism.” (Gagosian Gallery) Perhaps best know for BLPs, monochromatic ovular shapes that appeared not only in galleries, but on walls, the sides of trains, and throughout cities—Artschwager termed them “middle class defacement”—there was a sense of mischief to the man and his work, and this engaging documentary, filmed over the course of eight years, captures both. His second major retrospective was held at the Whitney Museum in New York last fall, just a few months before Artschwager’s death.