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Annotated Artwork: Ripping and Shredding the Art Market

Untitled (Popples), (2006) Photo: Courtesy of Cristinerose

Ron Rocheleau, the one-man editing machine behind the mid-nineties Public Access hit Concrete TV, is back with a solo debut at Chelsea’s Cristinerose. After a thirteen-year hiatus from galleries, Concrete Ron has abandoned the crash footage, porn tapes, and B-movie clips of his TV days. Now he’s obsessively deconstructing more than ten years of auction catalogues from Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips de Pury. His collages document and mock the go-go art market with crude and fanciful wit. “When the Sotheby’s/Christie’s scandal went down a few years ago, they kept saying that auction houses just act as a conduit between seller and buyer,” rants Rocheleau. “But they curate, aestheticize, create a historical context, give it a face. It all influences the artist. It’s like an IKEA catalogue: If they could, they’d sell the model.” Rocheleau explained one of his pieces to Rachel Wolff.

“Untitled (Popples),” (2006) Photo: Courtesy of Christinerose

1. “I like the name Popples,” says Rocheleau of this alteration of Jeff Koons’s “Popples” “I think it’s cute. Koons uses this little bird continuously to represent himself. It’s supposed to be this humbling thing, but Koons is far from humble, so I made it bigger.”

2. “The ‘Fuck’ is from Jack Pierson’s 1998 work ‘Fuck You.’ The ‘You’ is made from a series of book covers by Ed Ruscha.”

3. “These are Sotheby’s and Christie’s personalities with some of Thomas Ruff’s portraits mixed in. It keeps with the grid format, and this way the artists become specialists too.”

4. “This is one of Ruff’s porn photos next to a Gerhard Richter painting of children playing. The images are over a Richter background — I thought the lines worked as a border.”

5. “I paired these two together because Vik Muniz is mimicking Chuck Close’s style. It’s an art-world visual pastiche.”

6. “Here’s the original ‘Popples.’ I added the psychedelic background because I thought it looked better.”

7. “This is Andreas Gursky’s ‘Montparnasse’ in full. I like to use a lot of Richter and Gursky to maintain this visual grid. I think Richter is the most important painter of this generation. He doesn’t seem to get the recognition here, but in Europe he’s the cat’s pajamas.”

8. “This is a Tomas Struth. I shrunk it and replaced the work in the frame with Gursky’s ‘Montparnasse.’”

9. “Here there’s an Andreas Gursky prison in the background of Koons giving a banality lecture to kids. I think they’re actually child actors. Kids view class like prison.”

10. “The color bars are from Richter’s color series. He would build paintings based on the colors available at the store. I disassembled and rearranged them in a better configuration to carry the viewer up to Koons, as a compositional tool. I think Richter would approve.”

Ron Rocheleau at Cristinerose, through July. [Cristinerose]
Concrete TV []

Annotated Artwork: Ripping and Shredding the Art Market