Biography of Richard Artschwager
The astonishing life of artist Richard Artschwager found him studying microbiology, prosecuting war criminals, making furniture and carving out a wholly unique art career. Although he studied under Amédée Ozenfant, a cubist painter, he might never have become an artist had it not been for a ruinous fire at his cabinet-making studio.
Richard Artschwager’s commercial career as a producer of furniture led him to create sculptures and multiples that explored the role of space and played with the idea of making everyday objects appear unfamiliar. These artistic illusions were first made from acrylic and then using a veneer of Formica on wood. The faux-wood was important, the so-called “bad taste” manufactured material extending a dialogue with Pop Art.
Somewhere between pop, minimalism, and conceptualism, Artschwage’s work specializes in a kind of categorical obfuscation, striving to reveal the inherent deceit and illusion in visual perception. The artist went against conventional norms by secretly inserting his blps, oval-shaped dots, into surprising locations. A prolific producer of prints and multiples, Artschwager created over 100 editioned works. The multiplicity and dissemination of these serially produced works were ideally suited to the industrial materials he favored. Born in 1923 in Washington, DC, Artschwager has featured in no less than five documenta shows. In 2012 he was given a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York that traveled on to Los Angeles, Monaco, and Munich. Richard Artschwager died in 2013.