Whitehot Magazine

Contemporary Artist Richard Jackson: GUNRUN: Creating a Collector Edition Jigsaw Puzzle with ArtXPuzzles: Puzzles with Purpose

Richard Jackson, GUNRUN, 2020, puzzle (framed).

By NOAH BECKER, May 2021

A pre-eminent figure in American contemporary art since the 1970s, Richard Jackson is influenced by both Abstract Expressionism and action painting. He continues to explore the performative process and seeks to extend the potential of painting by unending both its technical and physical conventions. The artist is currently on display at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, Book & Printed Matter Lab, 2021 with“Richard Jackson: Work With Books” on until June 6th, 2021.  

Puzzling the Pieces together for a cause, Jackson sits down with WhiteHot Magazine to discuss the puzzling process, the pandemic and the artwork he created for  ARTXPUZZLES Collector Edition which is deeply rooted and based on events in our current times.

NOAH BECKER: Can you tell us about your collaboration with ARTXPUZZLES: Puzzles with Purpose?

RICHARD JACKSON: The image that I selected for the jigsaw puzzle; it is because I've been working on a project that is about guns and then it also keys into Black Lives Matter, so the image is black; black on black and what it says is gun and then run. Run is upside down and the end being upside down and right-side up is the same image.  

Richard Jackson, GUNRUN, 2020, puzzle (detail).

NB: Your artwork which was transformed to a Collector Edition Jigsaw Puzzle to help COVID19 Relief, Artist Relief and Black Lives Matter, can you tell us more about the artwork selected? 

RJ: Right now, in America there are no guns available, they've all been purchased or bought up, there isn't any ammunition available, it's all bought up too so we're living in a very, very kind of dangerous time. I think the gun run and the black image is there because there's a lot of black citizens being shot running away from the police. So somehow, it's an appropriate image for the times. I think people don't realize how dangerous all this is that everybody is armed in the US. 1,000,000 guns sold in California since the first of the year and in Michigan I think 4 million have sold so there's a lot of new gun owners creating a dangerous atmosphere. 

NB: Can you speak to us briefly about your creative process in producing new artworks and artistic studio practice during these trying time during the pandemic?

RJ: I've been working during the pandemic on this project that also includes a big ball with 100 guns. Some of them have neon barrels others have barrels that have paint coming out of them. Working during the pandemic it's been hard because materials are not available. Logistics are terrible and I guess it's okay for the painters and people that don't need a lot of different materials but for me it's been a little bit slow and difficult right now. 

Richard Jackson, installation view. Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth, LA.

NB: Can you tell us about the current exhibition at the Book & Printed Matter Lab at Hauser & Wirth? 

RJ: There is a monograph that came out about my work, and it's being displayed at Hauser Wirth in Los Angeles. The release of the monograph also has to do with other books that I've made in the past, including other book collaborations with other artists or photographers or both.

NB: Do you have any upcoming projects you want to speak about?

RJ: I don't have any upcoming projects but I'm working on a project that involves crashing two cars. In 1988 I was hit head-on by a car that was a Porsche 914 and I was driving a Chevrolet pickup S10. Right now, I'm reproducing that event. I bought a 914 of the same year that hit me and anS10 was the same year that I was driving. I'm planning to fill them both full of paint and crash them together. I need to find a venue for that but once it's ready, I'm not sure but I'm hoping that I can perform that project. 

Richard Jackson, GUNRUN, 2020, puzzle (boxed).

NB: What inspires you? 

RJ:  I think in the spirit of helping others during a bad time reminds me of being hit head-on and injured, the other person was killed, but after that accident I was contacted by the Pollock Krasner Foundation asking if they could help me during this difficult time. I didn't need any help. I was fine, I was in the hospital just for a few hours and so I was able to go back to work in a couple days. I didn't need any financial assistance, but Jackson Pollock was the reason I was initially interested in art. I was in an exhibition at PS1 and spent a few hours with Lee Krasner. So those people are my heroes and that they offered to help me out inspires me to help others. I think artists should help each other out when and if they can.

Richard Jackson’s Collector Edition of 1000 can be found for sale at ARTXPUZZLES and on display at the Hauser & Wirth LA Gallery Store. We are pleased to be the first to announce the edition comes with a special “pre-assembled” option while AXP and the artist will refund the first person to complete the entire puzzle. Proceeds from the Collector edition will continue to go to help select Artist Charity Choices, Contemporary Artists and COVID 19 Global Relief Efforts. WM 


Noah Becker

Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023. 


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Email: noah@whitehotmagazine.com

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