Five Richard Artschwager-isms

He’s been called a “school of one,” remembered for flirting across genres with little rhyme or reason in the opinion of onlookers. “The best chance for me to be understood,” Richard Artschwager once said, “is for the viewer to take a look at the work.” If that doesn’t do it, here’s five Artschwager-isms that might help to solve the enigma:

1. “If you sit on it, it’s a chair. If you walk around it and look at it, it is a sculpture.” Source

2. “Sculpture is for the touch, painting is for the eye. I wanted to make a sculpture for the eye and a painting for the touch.” Source

3. “The drawing is already partly there—it’s in the paper. And the paper is talking before you do.” Source

4. “All the good stuff had been done. Einstein, he’d gotten it all! He didn’t leave us anything! But I saw some gaps in art. That’s where things were left undone, in a mess. The people doing it seemed to be trying to use their souls.” Source

5. “Painting relates to both art and life ... I try to act in that gap between the two.” Source

Learn more about Artschwager in the major retrospective exhibition, “Richard Artschwager!”, on view at the Hammer Museum through September 1, 2013. Explore the exhibition.