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  • Red Blue Nasty by Rene Ricard

Red Blue Nasty by Rene Ricard

Petersburg Press

Oil on Canvas


Sheet Size: 44 x 29.5 inches


Condition: Excellent

Details — Click to read

Frustration is center stage, written in cursive: “It’s one of those days nothing works out right — bump into any sharp corner – can’t tell flesh from white or brown from…or green from…” (Could “Red Blue Nasty” be a reference to his friend fellow New York artist Keith Haring, who created the Story of Red and Blue series of prints in 1989?) At the lower edge the artist wrote “Night Book”, recalling the image of the artist’s constant nocturnal outings through the city.

Red Blue Nasty 1989
Acrylic, paint marker, oilstick over silkscreen ground on paper
44 x 29.5 in / 111.8 x 75 cm
Signed and dated ‘Rene Ricard aug 14 ’89’
White wood frame

As an author, Ricard’s increasing use of text in his work over the 1980’s reflects his interest in the written word. His 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’s signature in looping cursive dominates the lower right corner, 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 (formerly 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”, and close friend William Rand called the artist “the Baudelaire of Avenue C…a brilliant, elusive and glamorous underground figure.”

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.


The Artist

Rene Ricard

In the 1980s, he wrote a series of influential essays for Artforum magazine. Having achieved stature in the art world by successfully launching the career of painter Julian Schnabel, Ricard helped bring Jean-Michel Basquiat to fame. In December 1981 he published the first major article on Basquiat, entitled “The Radiant Child,” in Artforum. Ricard also contributed art essays to numerous gallery and exhibition catalogs. Ricard was immortalized by Basquiat in the drawing entitled Rene Ricard / Axe, representing the tension that existed between the two. Andy Warhol called him “the George Sanders of the Lower East Side, the Rex Reed of the art world.”

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