A quick introduction to the New York-based artist who borrows freely from the likes of Warhol and Lichtenstein for his own particular take on 21st-century politics and popular culture
New York-based artist Jonathan Horowitz (b. 1966) works in video, sculpture, sound installation and photography and was described by Interview magazine as ‘the cleverest artist alive’. His work explores politics, war, celebrity and popular culture, although he summarises it as being ‘about people’.
Horowitz ‘appropriates’ or quotes other artists like Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt and Roy Lichtenstein to investigate and satirize iconic art.
Self-Portrait Mirror #4, 2011 (above), is one of a series that copies Lichtenstein’s mirrors. Horowitz commissioned reproductions using the same ‘Ben-Day’ dots that mimic printing tones, but each painting was made without stencils by hand, becoming a ‘portrait’ of each maker.
For ‘590 Dots’ in 2014, Horowitz invited 590 individuals to paint a single black dot which proliferated as multiple circles rather than coming together as one picture. He commented that ‘it’s incredible to see all the variations in texture and shape and size that result from the process.’ Each contributor was paid $20.
Horowitz has recently updated the Andy Warhol celebrity portrait for the digital age by downloading and magnifying images of Beyoncé sourced from an advertising campaign.
‘The images of Beyoncé are from a Pepsi ad campaign,’ the artist told Time Out magazine in London. ‘I’d previously paired them with images of polar bears from a Coke campaign to create a broad metaphor for capitalism, pseudo democracy — everything really. But then it occurred to me that Beyoncé didn’t need to be paired with anything.’
Critical of the choice of Minimalist sculptures for the Washington Holocaust Museum, Horowitz made a copy of Ellsworth Kelly’s iconic Diagonal with Curve in the same pink as the triangular patch that homosexual Germans were forced to wear under Nazi rule.
Main image at top: Jonathan Horowitz, Self-Portrait in Mirror #4, 2011. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 in (91.4 x 91.4 cm). This work was offered in First Open | Post-war and Contemporary Art on 4 March 2016 at Christie’s in New York and sold for $75,000
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