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Richard Jackson to crash plane filled with paint into wall; aftermath to be exhibited at Armory

December 19, 2011 — Armory Center for the Arts is pleased to announce a two-part program by Richard Jackson consisting first of a public spectacle entitled Accidents in Abstract Painting followed by a subsequent exhibition entitled Accidents in Abstract Painting, the Armory.

In the outdoor spectacle entitled Accidents in Abstract Painting Richard Jackson will fly and crash a radio-controlled, model military plane with a fifteen-foot wingspan, filled with paint, into a twenty-foot wall that reads “accidents in abstract painting.” The spectacle, free and open to the public, will take place on Sunday January 22, 2012 at 4pm at Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco, southeast of the Rose Bowl in Area H. This monumental spectacle is part of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival.

The subsequent solo exhibition, entitled Accidents in Abstract Painting, the Armory, will be on view at the Armory Center for the Arts from February 12 – June 17, 2012 and will feature detritus and video documentation of the event, along with other work. The spectacle and subsequent exhibition are being organized by Armory Gallery Director Irene Tsatsos and Armory Gallery Manager/Curator Sinéad Finnerty-Pyne.

In the exhibition entitled Accidents in Abstract Painting, the Armory, Jackson will create an installation from the detritus of the crash of the model military plane. In addition, Armory will exhibit Jackson’s installation The War Room (2006-‘07), until now exhibited only once, and never in the Los Angeles area. The War Room is Jackson’s ode to the second Iraq War and the George W. Bush regime; but in this scenario ducks dressed as generals are running the show, dramatizing the absurdity of combat as well as the problems of climate change and depletion of natural resources — relevant issues in Jackson’s work. Gushing paint — used as a stand-in for oil — flows out of derricks placed atop Jackson’s polyhedral-shaped representation of the world, á la Buckminster Fuller. By exhibiting the two installations side by side, Jackson reflects upon the Pasadena Armory's history as a repository for military accoutrements, confronting its current function as a contemporary arts centre.

A publication documenting the event and the exhibition, with video documentation of the spectacle, will be published in Spring 2012 with generous support from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

Artist Background

Richard Jackson does not use paint on canvas in the traditional sense to create his work. Instead he uses the medium of paint to create installations, sculptures and performance based works. Influenced by Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting, Jackson’s aim has always been to stretch the limits of the medium of paint, to challenge its conditions and working methods.

Throughout his career, Richard Jackson has produced site-specific installations that relay a preoccupation with process. In his early work of the 1960s and ‘70s, he worked to redefine notions of what constituted legitimate picture surfaces by smearing wet canvases, face-down, against the gallery or museum wall, thus using painted canvases as tools to create spherical frescoes in bright, dripping colors. In the 1980s, in his Big Ideas series, Jackson explored the sculptural potential of painting by creating large three-dimensional forms comprised of hundreds of painted canvases stacked in geometric configurations. Since the ‘90s Jackson’s skill and interest in engineering has revealed itself in a series of elaborate “painting machines” made of lawnmowers, cars, motorcycles, fiberglass animals and figures that shoot, spray, drip, pour and splatter paint over the surrounding space.

Jackson’s work is marked by a rational, methodical, and conceptual approach to painting, but his penchant for experimentation, chance happenings, and destruction plays an equally important part. His one-off spectacles are activated in an intense burst of activity and create short but awesome sensory experiences. In this highly anticipated spectacle, taking place in one of Pasadena’s most visible locations — the Rose Bowl — Jackson will mount the most dramatic demonstration to date of his ongoing series entitled Accidents in Abstract Painting. In March of 2003, a smaller version of this piece was done with a ten-foot Cessna inside the walls of Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland.

Richard Jackson was born in Sacramento, California in 1939. Recent solo shows have been held at the Rennie Collection, Vancouver (2010), Hauser & Wirth, Zurich (2009), Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois (2007), and Hamburger Bahnhof (2006). A major presentation of his installations from 1970-1988 took place at The Menil Collection, Houston (1988). Jackson’s work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including Target Practice at the Seattle Art Museum (2009), Los Angeles 1955-1985 at the Centre Pompidou (2006), the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), the fourth Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art (1997), Iconoclash (2002) at ZKM, Karlsruhe, and Helter Skelter at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (1992). In addition to his solo project at the Armory Center for the Arts, his work is the subject of an upcoming retrospective at the Orange County Museum of Art later in 2012.

About the Armory

The Armory Center for the Arts, in Pasadena, California, believes that an understanding and appreciation of the arts is essential for a well-rounded human experience and a civil community. Founded in 1989, the Armory builds on the power of art to transform lives and communities through presenting, creating, teaching, and discussing contemporary visual art. The organization’s department of exhibitions mounts over 25 visual arts exhibitions each year at its main facility and in locations throughout the City of Pasadena. In addition, the Armory offers studio art classes and a variety of educational outreach programs to more than fifty schools and community sites.

The Armory Center for the Arts is located at 145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91103. Gallery hours are Tuesday – Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Admission is free with a $5 suggested donation. Armory members, students, and seniors are free. The Armory is easily accessible from the Gold Line Memorial Park Station in Pasadena. For information about Armory exhibitions and events, the public may call 626.792.5101 x122 or visit the Armory online at or

About the Festival

Los Angeles was a key international birthplace of performance art. Engaging the innovative spirit of that period and LA's vibrant contemporary art scene, the Performance and Public Art Festival will transform Southern California over eleven days (January 19-29, 2012) during Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980. Featuring more than 30 major performances and large-scale outdoor projects, the festival will include new commissions, reinventions, and restagings inspired by the radical and trailblazing public and performance works that were created by artists during the Pacific Standard Time era. Performances and projects will be located at institutions and sites throughout Southern California, in close proximity to more than two dozen Pacific Standard Time exhibitions. The festival is organized by the Getty Research Institute and LAXART; support is provided by the Getty Foundation.

About the Project Supporters

The Festival is organized by the Getty Research Institute and
LA><ART and made possible by a lead grant from the Getty Foundation
Additional funding for Accidents in Abstract Painting provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, with significant additional support from the Pasadena Division of Cultural Affairs and the City of Pasadena.  Generous funding for the exhibition Accidents in Abstract Painting, the Armory and the exhibition catalogue comes from the Pasadena Art Alliance.
Image: Richard Jackson (b. 1939)
Color photograph mounted on aluminium (photo: Stefan Altenburger)
120 x 172 cm / 47 1/4 x 67 3/4 inches
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
Artist: Richard Jackson
Event: Accidents in Abstract Painting
Date: Sunday, January 22, 4 p.m. Free and open to the public
Location: Arroyo Seco, Pasadena, California, Area H, southeast of the Rose Bowl
Exhibition: Accidents in Abstract Painting, the Armory
Date: February 12 through June 10, 2012
Reception: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 7PM - 9PM
Location: Caldwell Gallery, Armory Center for the Arts,
145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91103
Contact: Calvin Phelps, Communications Manager
Armory Center for the Arts
Phone: (626) 792-5101 x 130

Press Release


See full press release PDF for more information.


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