Pretty Things in Ugly Places, a curatorial project, arose from a conversation with painter Willy Bo Richardson. Here, I am exploring the concept of Benjamin’s ‘aura’. In order to eradicate the supposed need for a white box, I chose to place Richardson’s paintings in run-down, abandoned houses throughout Northern New Mexico. I reasoned that, if paintings indeed possess ‘aura’ that the surrounding conditions of the art would be unimportant. In fact, that the paintings should uplift the tattered walls and create consequence for the space. I wanted to see if a brilliant painting would be brilliant in even the ugliest of contexts. The format was five to thirty minute exhibitions, from which the take-away is a series of photographs, as the one presented above.
Willy Bo Richardson received an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute in 2000. Richardson exhibits his work nationally and internationally. In April/May 2011 his work was included in the exhibition at Jason McCoy Gallery in New York titled, “70 Years of Abstract Painting – Excerpts”. The show assembled works by a selection of modern and contemporary painters, including Josef Albers, Hans Hofmann and Jackson Pollock.
Photography by Rowan Ogden.