Wiping his beleaguered hands over the table like temperamental car wipers, ageing American artist Richard Jackson reclines in his seat for the length of the interview, in a manner befitting a man drawing breath from a prolonged pursuit for recognition. Jackson is a veteran of the west coast, where he originally shared an apartment in Los Angeles with performance artist Bruce Nauman. And he recalls at the time, how they drew inspiration from one another; in a determined attempt to replace the franchised interests of modern art for something gustier. Drawn on the dynamism of American art, Jackson goes no further than Nauman, whom he regards as possibly the most important contemporary artist to have lived in the modern era. Insisting how ‘we all owe something to him, everyone. I mean you can’t deny it, can’t say you were doing it at the same time, not true.’ Yet at the same time it is impossible not to draw comparisons between the grandiose spirit and scale of artists like Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelly, and Ed Ruscha; with his own work. As a generation of artists who profited from conceiving of a messier aesthetic.
Richard Jackson’s 2014 installation 'Car Wash' at CAB Art Center Brussels is a fully automatic car wash, modified and designed to transform brand new cars into works of art. Soft cloth brushes on the top and sides have been replaced by a 1 ton spiked metal drum and solid metal rotating balls. The cars that come out of this machine are smashed, destroyed, and then applied with a clean coat of paint to finish it off.
Over the past four decades, the Los Angeles-based artist Richard Jackson has been exploring the boundaries of painting.
I am from a country that has had a painting tradition since the first half of the fifteenth century, a country that was home to Vincent van Gogh for a couple of years, and where Jacques-Louis David’s 'Marat assassiné' has been permanently housed in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (in Brussels) since 1893.