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July 25 2014

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“A Frozen Moment Meant To Be Consumed”

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The step-and-repeat of red-carpet coverage—the parade of celebrities in front of branded billboards at premieres, parties, and galas, where they’re photographed by the paps—has become an established part of media coverage. So established, in fact, that we barely notice anymore how artificial it is. But Richard Phillips (above) does. “I wanted to make that celebrity endorsement the single subject of my paintings,” the painter says. “What fascinated me about their expressions is that they’re totally rehearsed and meant only for the still capture, for the shot. It’s a frozen moment meant to be consumed.”

Phillips’ new show, Most Wanted, opens this week at London’s White Cube Gallery and features those frozen moments writ large: giant portraits of celebrities like Kristen Stewart, Taylor Momsen, Chace Crawford, and Taylor Swift in front of logo-splashed backdrops, staring slightly glazedly out at their adoring public. We recently dropped by Phillips’ Chelsea studio as he was preparing to send the canvases to the U.K. for the show. Click here to check out more from our visit.

Photo: Kyle Ericksen

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  1. ardara says:

    I’m not sure what “in” this man has, but these paintings are uniquely terrible. Their subjects being flat, lifeless, and traced (which is what “silk screened and painted over” means). Despite him being able to eloquently avoid their inadequacy with a great quote, Celebrity + Advertising + Fashion set? What is he doing that hasn’t already been done better by Warhol?

  2. novakati says:

    um, these look like paintings i’d see in an undergrad art show. they’re about as well thought out conceptually as student art. why is he showing at white cube? and why would anyone want these paintings over what we can already see on perez hilton for free? cheap shots and boring. and that doesn’t even look like kristen stewart.

Dept. of Culture