New York, 542 West 24th Street
James Rieck's newest body of work, "Rapture," mines that euphoric moment of cognition… that split second when understanding and emotions are born. Using models extrapolated from 1950’s and 60’s commercial magazines, “Rapture” juxtaposes an idyllic midcentury moment of bliss spurred on by the artwork that is on public display. Rieck’s compositions combine highly sexualized historical masterpieces such as Matisse’s Le Bonheur de Vivre, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bather Drying Herself, and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, with an overtly ecstatic viewer. Replete with innuendo and bravado, “Rapture” captures the viewers’ profoundly private moment of sexual awareness and desire all the while on public view.
Rieck states, “It’s easy to lose yourself in a painting, or any form of art, as a means to escape from the world or the self. There is no limit to where it can take you, if you let it. Museums and art galleries are designed for you to let yourself ‘go’ in public. They are vehicles for the art experience of private passions in shared settings.
As art critic Jerry Saltz said in his reference to spending the night in the Guggenheim Museum foyer for Carsten Holler's Revolving Hotel Room (2008), “I've always wanted to have sex in the museum. To me museums are ecstasy machines, places to experience rapture, and the real thing is the real thing.” I'll leave it to you to picture Mr. Saltz having his way in the museum, but we can all want to feel the real pleasures that come from art and the places that hold it.”
On view through November 4, 2017