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March 27, 2007

Ryan McGinness work at The Lower East Side Printshop

Ryan McGinness, we've been watching his art work for some time.. now he's got new work at the Lower Eastside Printshop... But is Ryan's work Graphic Design or Art ?? What do you think?

Ryan is one of those artists that we never really know how to categorize his work..

  • Are his colorful whimsical works, fresh cutting edge painting or
  • Just gee-whiz graphic design dressed up and packaged as contemporary art?
  • or is he one of those revolutionary Graffiti/Beautiful Losers artist that everyone will be compared to for years to come?
  • They maybe nice little pretty doodles.. but it's not art?

So far people have been voting with their wallets!! His work was completely sold out during the first few hours of the collectors preview at the Jeffrey Detich booth during this years Armory Show.

Ryan's few published books are already very difficult to come by for collectors.  And last year, his works on paper covered the hallways at MOMA (Since 2000: Printmaking Now, May 3-Sept 18th)!

Ryan_mcginness_multionjapanese1Well.. much to our surprise, there are several of Ryan's newest works available for only $3,000 to $4,000. And even better... we think it may also count as a donation to the great not-for-profit, The Lower East Side Printshop.

(photo #1, Ryan McGinness 2007, "Untitled, Multi-colored Barbed Wire on White," screenprint, 48" x 36" image and sheet. Price: $4,000)

FYI, The Printshop is a true learning/teaching institution. Some very impressive artists have done some of their earliest work at The printshop. Over the years they've  included Kiki Smith, Leon Golub, Philip Taaffe, Robert Longo, Barbara Kruger, and even Kara Walker.

These prints by Ryan are all listed as unique one-of-a kind prints.. printed on a variety of different types of papers.  Pretty cool. Right?

Ryan also has his own website if you'd like to see more of his work.

FYI.. The Printshop also has a limited edition print portfolio from the over-hyped super hot hot painter Amy Sillman.

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Personally, I don't believe Ryan McGinness' work is "art," but I said the same about Keith Haring at the time, Barry McGee, and all the other graffiti artists and commercial-type artists. If I were old enough I probably would have said the same about Matisse's Jazz cutouts, Warhol, and even Hockney's work. So who the hell knows? I guess if it's sold by a reputable art dealer and is bought by collectors, over the years it will be considered art. That's just the way it is.

I would say his work has become graphic design. I don’t get much from the work, but pretty shapes. Sometimes there’s hidden meanings, but they are few, and mostly covered up by “pretty” design. I saw his work a long time ago, in like 95 and then it was quite simple, intelligent and funny. Looks like he’s now just mass-producing those shapes that are not even his to begin with. And pretty “90s” too I must say. Many people did those kinds of designs way before him, starting around 93, when adobe illustrator became popular. If you look at them closely they’re not even that neatly made, and both color and composition is slightly off. Take a look at Paul Henry Ramirez work. This guy is really meticulous, makes similar shapes, but with all sorts of sexual and other subtle connotations. Look up close at Paul’s work and you see perfection. He spends months producing a single painting. Ryan, it seems, whoops them out in hours, paying little attention to detail, meaning and composition.

Well I also see work that -I think- is very commercial or looks like it's pulled straight from an illustraion annual or stock photo library being shown off in Chelsea too but I guess the gallery context defines it as "art." So can graphic work crossover too? No reason why it can't. And there is Rennie Mackintosh where you could draw lines too as well.

But that said I'm NOT here to defend the guy. I'm really not crazy about his work, but I don't hate it. It is sometimes pretty to look at but often very shallow. And I'm still not convinced he really has that "magical" artisan touch as someone else alluded to. And it may be selling well but it seems that anything you throw in a ny gallery nowadays especially with the Deitch label behind it will be gobbled up by the new money. Whether this will still have any draw in 20 50 100 years is very questionable. It just might. But damn, for $4000 I could rattle off at LEAST 100 other pieces in the same price range or cheaper by different (and more tenured) artists I would acquire before purchasing one of these screenprints.

Greetings from sunny Amsterdam!!

I have seen his show in Amsterdam, Vous Etes Ici Gallery. They look so graphic and I don't know if we can call it art. All I know that all his works were sold before the opening to out of Holland Collectors. The prices was around Euro. 18,000, insane for such a shallow works. I am curious to see how he develops in the future. I see his works more decorative than really arty. It fits the color of the sofa...


I am a huge fan of Ryan's work. I don't think one necessarily has to spend months and months on a painting in order for it to be valuable. He created a system that works for him and creates his own world from this system. If you've read interviews he makes it very clear that he is not trying to create particularly deep paintings that transport you into another realm... and is fully aware of his aesthetic driven style. That doesn't necessarily make his work shallow. He is one of the few if only graphic designers that somehow sprouted in the art world, and is doing a damn good job sustaining his spot there. It gives great hope to other ambitious graphic designers and sheds light on what could be a very mundane frustrating service industry for aspiring artists.

OMG, that's my table cloth!

he is the shit !

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