Ryder Richards at Beefhaus, Dallas
Glasstire.com by Colette Copeland, 21 Oct 2016 [link]
Ryder Richards’ most recent performance work Invisible Hand took place at Beefhaus Gallery in Dallas for a couple of weeks recently, in the run up to the fall season. The show examined the politics of labor (very specifically from the point of view of the artist); institutional power is a recurring theme in Richards’ work.
When I first spoke to Richards about this project, I admit to being flabbergasted. I think I said something like: “You actually propose to remodel the entire gallery for free, including buying all of the building materials and manually doing all the labor yourself?” To wit: “Are you out of your mind? Isn’t that a reverse critique of the exploitation of the artist by institutions? Doesn’t that action also actively participate in the gentrification that DIY’s spaces are fighting against?”
Richards’ gestures challenge authoritarian power structures—albeit in a non-confrontational manner—which is much more subversive, and I think more effective.
Richards, good-naturedly, said yes to the above questions. His work can look deceptively simple, but it’s always grounded in thoughtful theoretical discourse. He’s incredibly well-read and spends a lot of time thinking about the role of the artist as a cultural conduit.