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Meet Ryder Richards

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryder Richards.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ryder. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I moved to the DFW area in 2009 to run the art galleries at Richland College. This came after running art galleries in Lubbock and somehow reaching escape velocity with the aid of Ryder truck we turned into a mobile art gallery. In Dallas I tried to bring in a few shows to the college that challenged the norm, such as Richie Budd’s techno rave machine, which prompted a D Magazine article on the gallery.

Along the way I made some friends and we formed a group called “The Art Foundation.” We put together a few shows featuring a mix of DFW artists with international artists, which lead to a large book of Duchamp’s toilets being accepted into the collection of the Nasher Sculpture Center. The following year we curated an art exhibition called “Boom Town” at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Though curating shows landed me in Dallas, I am primarily an artist who occasionally writes art reviews. I try to stay busy by attending art residencies and participating in about a dozen shows a year. In addition, a few years ago I founded the art review site “Eutopia: Contemporary Art Review.”

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Ha. Not really. But speaking of roads: I have had the radiator go out on a truck loaded with hundreds of thousands of dollars of art in the desert, had multiple tires blow out on a trailer loaded down with art while going 75 mph, and flipped a car during an art residency and crawled out directly into poison ivy. We’ve had our trucks broken into and all our stuff stolen while installing a show, we had FedEx mistake our art for trash and not deliver it, we tried plastering walls in sub-freezing temperatures at 3AM, and have had several other minor disasters. The lifestyle seems to be living on coffee and beer for days, and the really fun part is that my friends and I fund most of the projects ourselves. Yes, that’s right, we pay to do this to ourselves.

Once I packed up the trailer with art and drove 3 other artists 6 hours to install their work to be told, “Oops, we booked a wedding in the gallery. Can we reschedule your show?” I know these are small things, but after a while one begins to associate art shows with frustration and intense problem solving, and now I am slightly shocked when everything goes smoothly.

All of these little bumps in the road are balanced out by some great highlights. Along the way I have made trips to Germany to learn color theory and participate in a residency, and more recently hopped through Switzerland and Spain after working on the Venice Biennale in 2014. Last year I tagged along with my wife to Japan and I have been accepted into a residency in New York this fall. Not to mention I get to hang out with the coolest people and have some great conversations.

Please tell us about Ryder Richards.
I specialize in thinking about things, often kind of goofy but politically charged things, and then I make art as a way to have a conversation about what I am thinking. I really enjoy work that engages in contradictions, blending conceptual and social considerations while collapsing high and low-class distinctions.

As an example: A few years back I painted an orange rectangle on a wall, then built a wall over the top of it, finishing it out so that it became just another boring white wall in the gallery. The interesting part is that the wall is technically a huge painting, but as part of the architecture it becomes “invisible” to viewers while it buries another painting. The piece tries to discuss how many systems we participate in that become invisible to scrutiny and hide other ideas simply because we quit seeing them. The piece also talks about blue-collar labor as invisible or ignored labor, but in this context, performed by an artist in a gallery, it becomes something to consider.

For the most part, every project I engage in has a different set of ideas I am working through. A few years back I had a show considering science as a “religion” we don’t understand but have complete faith in it. For that show I converted the gallery into a science-fiction spaceship chapel. My most recent exhibit at Dark Dirty Place features hacked vacuums that light up, playing off the venue and insinuating that the DIY community is a retreat into a xenophobia.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would take over the world first, then have minions execute my visions.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Courtesy of Ryder Richards

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