Richard Prince “Blasting Mats” Gladstone Gallery NYC
Since the 1970s, Richard Prince has drawn on the visual vocabulary that makes up modern Americana. From the myth of the Cowboy, the building of fame, to the advent of a culture dominated by the automobile. The artist distorts and recontextualizes this source of references to create an aesthetic all his own. Since 2006, blasting mats have been one of the subjects of investigation and the subject of a new exhibition at the Gladstone Gallery in New York.
For those unfamiliar with blasting mats are created using sliced car tires that are used to block debris during controlled explosions, such as a construction site. Prince considers these objects to belong to the same depleted lexicon that also includes abandoned cars and discarded basketball hoops – various objects and scenes that can be seen across America. Like butcher’s meat hanging in a freezer, these symbols of the car and the promises they once carried hang in time – offering a reflection on consumerism and a culture littered with its own leftovers.
It’s unclear what the car’s presence will be in the second half of the 21st century, but the glamor and possibilities it once offered is undeniably diminishing with the changing transport landscape and the looming dangers of climate change.
To accompany the exhibition, Gladstone Gallery has also published a book documenting this series of works. “Blasting Mats” will be on view until October 23.
Elsewhere, Louis Vuitton will release an illustrated travel journal on Mars.
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