James Turrell, 1981
Richard Artschwager has been making art – sculpture, painting, drawings and other objects – since the early 1950s. For more than four decades, Artschwager has forged a unique and maverick path in twentieth century art by confounding its generic limits, all the while making the visual comprehension of space and the everyday objects that occupy it strangely unfamiliar. Artschwager's work has been variously described as Pop Art, because of its derivation from utilitarian objects and incorporation of commercial and industrial materials; as Minimal Art, because of its geometric forms and solid presence; and as Conceptual Art, because of its cool and cerebral detachment. But none of these classifications adequately defines the aims of an artist who specializes in categorical confusion and works to reveal the levels of deception involved in pictorial illusionism. Artschwager's approach focuses on the structures of perception, striving to conflate the world of images, which can be apprehended but not physically grasped, and the world of objects, which is the same space that we ourselves occupy. His most recent work marks a departure, in that the images he has composed from sources in popular culture have overt, if deadpan, allusions to current political issues.