Richard Phillips in front of Most Wanted, via Telegraph
Richard Phillips is blowing up pop art onto two-meter canvases full of celebrity in his new exhibition Most Wanted, on now at White Cube through March 5. In a saturated, Technicolor hyperrealist style, complete with Richard Bernstein-esque neon outlines, Phillips has painted in oil ten current pop-culture icons: Chace Crawford, Kristen Stewart, Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Momsen, Dakota Fanning, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and Robert Pattinson.
More text and images after the jump…
Richard Phillips, Leonardo DiCaprio (2010). All following images via New York Times unless otherwise noted.
The artist chose young celebrities—nearly all born after 1990—led by Leonardo DiCaprio, who “represents every dimension of what is desirable in creative celebrity endorsement relations and as such literally cast a long shadow from which the rest of these young stars must emerge,” according to an interview with ArtInfo. By choosing such attractive, recognizable and popular figures, Phillips connects with a mass audience beyond that of high art, “inviting contemplation on the power of celebrity branding to shape the face of our future,” according to White Cube.
Acknowledging Andy Warhol‘s Thirteen Most Wanted Men (1964), Phillips plays with the mandatory mugshot; though Warhol’s images were of imprisoned men, Phillips’s are of practiced poses by powerful celebrities. The ‘step and repeat’ backgrounds advertising luxury brands highlight the commodity value of each snapshot—lustrous images of the moment, preserved in the timely craft of almost-academic, Renaissance-like oil painting idealism. The show also includes smaller drafts of the works on paper.
Richard Phillips, Robert Pattinson (2009), Colour pastel on grey toned paper, via White Cube
Richard Phillips: Most Wanted [White Cube]
Celebrity Endorsement | Richard Phillips’s ‘Most Wanted’ [New York Times]
‘Most Wanted’ show by Richard Phillips, London [Wallpaper]
Why Would a Serious Artist Paint Robert Pattinson?: A Q&A With Richard Phillips [ArtInfo]