Richard Hawkins: Third Mind
The Art Institute of Chicago, 2010
Since the 1990s, Richard Hawkins has developed an emphatically diverse art that resists easy classification. Offering alternate histories through the juxtaposition of unlike elements — whether ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, 19th century French Decadent literature, post-structuralist theory, 1980s teen heartthrobs, Native assimilation in the American Southwest, 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. 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. For this reason, Richard Hawkins: The Third Mind — the artist’s first American museum survey — is largely focused on his collage-based work as a platform from which to understand his larger practice.