This monograph is the first to present a comprehensive, career-spanning account of Rick Lowe’s art and social practice. Through works of “social sculpture” undertaken over three decades, the Houston-based artist has developed new paradigms for artists to engage in collaborative and transformative dialogues in local communities around the world, while his recent abstract canvases use paint and collage to meditate on conceptual and communal themes.
Edited by Dieter Roelstraete, curator at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, and Gagosian director Antwaun Sargent, the book is fully illustrated with paintings and documentation of projects from the past three decades. Lowe was a visiting fellow at the Neubauer Collegium from 2019 to 2021, which culminated in the exhibition Notes on the Great Migration (2022–23), organized as part of his Black Wall Street Journey project (2020–21).
A foreword by Tara Zahra introduces the project and Roelstraete writes about Lowe’s paintings, describing their conception and relationships to his community-based projects. Allison Glenn discusses initiatives including Project Row Houses in Houston (1993–2018) and Transforma Projects in New Orleans (2005) and Fani Paraforou introduces the Victoria Square Project in Athens (2016–2023). A conversation between the artist and Valerie Cassel Oliver offers insight into his practice as an activist-artist. Abigail Winograd analyzes Greenwood Art Project (2020) and Black Wall Street Journey in relation to the 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the movement of Black people from Oklahoma to Chicago. Sydney Stutterheim considers pivotal shifts in Lowe’s turn to social practice and also contributed a selected chronology of his career.