In the early 1960s, Richard Artschwager began making sculptures that look like abstracted pieces of furniture. In a parody of both painting and sculpture, he covered their surfaces with Formica, a modern industrial product used to give objects the appearance of more expensive materials, such as wood or marble. He continued to draw analogies between the “high” arts of painting and sculpture and the “low” art of interior design in a series of paintings that depict a variety of elegant domestic spaces. In each painting, rooms are filled with luxury items; on closer inspection, however, one finds no traces of everyday life. In fact, Artschwager based his images on mass-reproduced photographs—hence their grey tones—from what appear to be interior design publications. With Interior, Artschwager turns one of his paintings back into a printed image, but he breaks it into two slightly overlapping halves, as if to highlight the artificiality both of this print (which is based on a painting of a photo of the room) and of the décor itself. Ultimately, Interior suggests that elegant rooms are all “staged,” not necessarily for a photographer but to convince us of the wealth and sophistication of the people who live there.
Label from Window to Wall: Art from Architecture, November 18, 2017–March 18, 2018