Holy shit, I can’t believe how bad someone who shows at Gagosian can be. Honestly, WTF!?!?! I love embracing artists of all stripes but this dude essentially makes high-brow-ish fan art.

Painting celebrities as a commentary on celebrity or history painting — or whatever he thinks it is — is dull, making ad-like videos of celebrities is duller but a badly done photo shoot of a d-list reality TV personality is dullest.

His recently photos of Work of Art host China Chow for Elle is one of the most appallingly bad photo spreads I’ve encountered in ages. Mr. Phillips what you do looks most of the time like celebrity posters for the 1% or art school experiments.

I saw you speak at an event recently and I wanted to like you, I thought perhaps there was a level of scrutiny that I’m not seeing … something … but alas nada.

This may be the first and last thing I ever write about Phillips, but I’m curious what other people think. Am I missing something? Honestly, help me.

Oh wait, your portrait of Leonardo di Caprio is pretty … well, if what you’re doing could be done with a smartphone app … nevermind.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

8 replies on “The Bad Celebrity Art of Richard Phillips”

  1. well the only ‘good’ thing i can make out of his series (although i’m just lookin at them from behind my computer) is that China Chow seems to be presented as if she is a commercial product. She doesn’t present the car, she is presenting herself in the same manner as the porsche (literaly and figurally). But i doubt, due to it’s context (Elle) , that Mr. Phillips delibaretly made this series with that social critic. He probably just enforces it, wich in my opinion makes it bad ‘art’.        

  2. Being an artist doesn’t mean you are automatically a good photographer, which Phillips is clearly not, and even being a good photographer does not mean one can automatically shoot good commercial photographs, which Phillips clearly cannot.

  3. Gagosian is a joke and always has been. Take a hustler, mix in some socialites and over aged people with money, and you have recipe for the worst fraud perpetrated in art since Saatchi dubbed Hirst the artist of a new century by buying his pieces at inflated prices. If these douches have show us anything it is the art of selling out and giving up.

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