Art & Design

Artist Jon Rafman on His Brand New Paint Job

Art & Design

Artist Jon Rafman on His Brand New Paint Job

Yves Klein Jet Ski, 2012
Umberto Boccioni Living Room Suite, 2012
O’Keeffe Antechamber, 2013, courtesy of the artist and American Medium
Giacomo Balla ’50s Living Room, 2013, courtesy of the artist and Zach Feuer
Barnett Newman Pocket Bike, 2012
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Name: Jon Rafman
Age: 31
Hometown: Montreal, Canada
Currently resides: “I travel most of the year.”
Last exhibition: “A Man Digging” at Seventeen, London.
Upcoming exhibition: Solo show at Zach Feuer, New York City

Have any of the artists you reference in your Brand New Paint Job project, in which you wallpaper spaces and 3D models with famous paintings, reacted positively or negatively to your reification of their work?
Most of the artists are dead, but I’ve gotten a generally favorable reaction from those who are still alive. The BNPJ project enacts both a reduction and homage to these artists’ work: on one level the painting becomes wallpaper, and on another these BNPJ rooms are like shrines to the artists.

What does it mean to fetishize labor and what is the danger of doing so?
Just because something took a long time to make, it doesn’t necessarily make it a good work of art. Some of my favorite pieces consist of a bold gesture, like Cory Arcangel’s Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations or Duchamp’s Fountain. I discourage people from putting too much emphasis on the amount of time I’ve spent searching for Google street views—I don’t like to equate the value of my work with the number of hours it took to make it.

Describe the most self-aggrandizing and pejorative avatars you could make.
http://youtu.be/CMNry4PE93Y