Graduate Lecture Series: Richard Hawkins, artist
University Park Campus
Graduate Fine Arts Building (IFT)
3001 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Since the early 1990’s, Richard Hawkins has developed an emphatically diverse art practice that resists easy classification. Offering alternate histories through the juxtaposition of decidedly unlike elements—whether ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, 19th-century French Decadent literature, post-structuralist theory, 1980s teen hearthhrobs, Native assimilation in the American Southeast, or the intricacies of Thai sex tourism—the work is, at its core, about the pleasure of intense looking.
Hawkins is an equal opportunity voyeur, but it is the male figure—often young, beautiful, and exotic—that is the subject and inspiration in his work. Bolstered by alternative historical precedents or influences and infused each time with new ways of seeing, he takes his subject well beyond personal indulgence into the realm of a deeply engaged rethinking of representation. Critical pairings are primal matter, making collage not simply a medium for Hawkins but a philosophy/methodology that defines his art. His earliest mature statements took the form of collage, and the medium has held firm within his oeuvre ever since.