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  • The Limp by Rene Ricard

The Limp by Rene Ricard

Petersburg Press

Oil on Canvas


Sheet Size: 40 x 26.5 inches


Condition: Excellent

Details — Click to read

The Limp conjures the image of Rene consumed with energy and righteousness, then resignation: “He was pushing the door in, I was pushing him out / He won”. The words are scrawled in pink, green and burgundy on a dark green khaki square. It’s impossible to know the specific situation behind this poem but one can imagine Rene furiously pushing in the door of a fine restaurant or chic club to leave, as a confused patron attempts to enter.

The Limp 1989
acrylic, oilstick over silkscreen ground on paper
40 x 26.5 in / 102 x 67 cm
Signed, dated and annotated ‘Rene Ricard Nov 30 1989 1/2’
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 signature, often integrated into the composition, or placed at its center, displaying his self-assured confidence.

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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