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Rene Ricard
The Unhappily Dead: Rene Ricard poetry of 1980s Chelse New York life rainbow

1989

$3,800

About

Touched by the influence of Andy Warhol, champion of a young Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rene Ricard served as enfant terrible of the 1980s New York art scene. In this rainbow print, Ricard effortlessly traverses text and the pleasure of color. The vibrant sunset colors and inky-black shading of this large, folded, print are hidden at first glance by the cover page. Composed like the cover of a book, the demure composition features a pale green oval rimmed with lilac purple. The artist's name and the title, "The Unhappily Dead", are printed in black typewriter font. Turning this "page" reveals a double fold, blank on the left, and on the right, black cursive, printed over a colorful gradient that fades from sky blue, to light purple, to a medium orange. Below this color field is printed the top edge of a lithographic stone, shaded in black and scratched away in areas like an ancient stone wall. Ricard wrote the work's title, "The Unhappily Dead", at the top of the composition, and below it, a poem in cursive reading: "Suddenly cabs don't stop for you / Your job gets lost you end up living off your friends / If they see you. You're always hungry and keep losing weight. You / Move into a room in a huge / Bldg in Chelsea. It takes / An Eternity to realize you are in Hell / RR" The tranquil colors of the gradient are at odds with the somber tone of the poem, and the arc of the black marks around the text suggests a gravestone. The black layer is printed to reveal the shape of the stone on which Ricard would have drawn this composition. The heavy, flat limestone slabs traditionally used to print lithographs further recall the shape and weight of a gravestone -- a tongue-in-cheek reference typical of Ricard's work. The lithography stone as medium and as visual motif is a recurrent theme in his prints. Here, the artist's black shading reveals the natural chipping on the side of the stone. Scratches and scribbling form a rich texture that enhances the emotional intensity of Ricard's frenzied cursive. Ricard was a poet and an art critic who published numerous books of his poetry, and his increasing use of text in his work over the 1980's reflects this interest in the written word. Ricard's confessional hand-painted and hand-written poetry is almost always accompanied by the artist's outsized signature, integrated into the composition, or placed at its center. Here, Ricard signs his initials in the plate, and again on the paper in a flourish of red pencil, displaying the artist's unabashed confidence and flamboyance. This confidence (and Ricard's bedroom-eyed allure) attracted the attention of Andy Warhol, and the young Rene (born Albert Napoleon Ricard) became his protege. He would appear in three Warhol films, even playing the Factory founder himself in "Andy Warhol Story". Warhol would later call the famously acid-tongued Ricard "The George Sanders of the Lower East Side, the Rex Reed of the art world." By the early 1980s, Rene Ricard was a fixture in the New York art scene, not only as an accomplished artist, but as a critic. Penning enlightening and poetic essays for Artforum, he turned his attention to rising stars such as Julian Schnabel and Alex Katz. Ricard famously wrote the first major article on Jean-Michel Basquiat. “The Radiant Child” is credited with launching Basquiat’s career, and is considered a seminal contemporary art essay. Paper 31 in. x 47 in. / 79 cm. x 120 cm. folded to 31 in. x 23.5 in. x 79 cm. x 60 cm. Lithograph and etching on Arches paper. Edition 28: this impression 28/28. Signed by the artist in red pencil lower right; numbered 28/28 in black crayon lower left.

Details

  • Creator
    Rene Ricard (1946 - 2014, American)
  • Creation Year
    1989
  • Dimensions
    Height: 31 in. (78.74 cm)Width: 47 in. (119.38 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
    This print is not previously owned and has been stored in the archives of the publisher since its publication.
  • Gallery Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU121124901552

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $399 Standard Front Door Shipping
    to United States 0, arrives in 3-6 weeks.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: New York, NY
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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