Gagosian has announced the representation of Rick Lowe. Lowe’s numerous collaborative projects, undertaken in the spirit and tradition of “social sculpture,” are paired with an extensive body of work in painting, drawing, and installation. Working closely with individuals and communities, he has identified myriad ways to exercise creativity in the context of everyday activities, harnessing it to explore concerns around equity and justice. Influenced by Joseph Beuys’s formulation of “social sculpture,” he has moved from figurative “anti-painting” to the making and maintenance of projects aimed at the transformation of social structures and sites, and to symbolic abstract painting.
In 1993, Lowe co-founded Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward, working with fellow artists James Bettison (1958–1997), Bert Long, Jr. (1940–2013), Jesse Lott, Floyd Newsum, Bert Samples, and George Smith—as well as with neighbours and other creative thinkers—to establish a cultural district in a block and a half of derelict shotgun houses. Lowe’s work in Houston has also led him to initiate and participate in other community enterprises throughout the United States and abroad, including the Watts House Project (1996–2012), an artist-driven redevelopment organization in Los Angeles; a collaboration with British architect David Adjaye on a project for the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park (2005); and the production of Trans.lation: Vickery Meadow, a group of six pop-up community markets, for the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (2013). Among his ongoing initiatives are the Victoria Square Project (2016–), a collaboration with Maria Papadimitriou in Athens’s Victoria Square in the context of Documenta 14; Black Wall Street Journey (2018–) in Chicago; and Greenwood Art Project (2018–21) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Having used the game of dominoes to engage with residents of the Third Ward during the development of Project Row Houses, Lowe devised a visual language based on the resemblance between his aerial photographs of the game and maps of urban districts. By tracing and layering the patterns he discovers in these images, he continues to produce paintings and drawings that, while visually abstract, represent the reconfiguration and movement of communities over time. Lowe has exhibited these works in institutions worldwide including the Phoenix Art Museum; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; and Kumamoto State Museum, Japan.
Lowe will inaugurate the third season of Gagosian’s Artist Spotlight series, an online program launched in April 2020. A collection of related editorial content—including an exclusive video featuring an interview with the artist filmed in his Houston studio—will launch on September 29. A new painting inspired by his collaborative public project in Athens, and related stylistically to his dominoes works, will be revealed on October 1 and made available exclusively online for forty-eight hours.
Lowe will also be featured in the gallery’s booth at Art Basel this month, and in the upcoming Social Works II exhibition in London, which opens on October 7th. Lowe’s first solo exhibition at the gallery is scheduled for fall 2022 at Gagosian New York.