EXITING THE VEHICLE | A Single Serigraph by Richard Duardo
June 7-10, 2018
Over the course of three days in March of 1997 thirty-nine members of the Heaven’s Gate community exited their vehicles with the help of phenobarbital-saturated applesauce and pudding in a rented home in Rancho Santa Fe California.
The following month Los Angeles artist Richard Duardo curated the exhibition “Applesauce and Pudding” at downtown LA’s now defunct Art and Commerce Gallery, about with the Heaven’s Gate incident. Duardo, along with several designers, recreated the scene of the group’s “graduation,” their “classroom” and a series of prints taken from a police photo. The image is of an “Away Team” member’s exited shell, their torso covered with a purple fabric, revealing only their legs clad in black sweat pants and their feet in a pair of iconic black Nike Decades.
This particular print is unique not only in the manner it came to us but in its personal history. There is very little information about these prints and the exhibition they were born from which makes it all the more intriguing. The thought is that the show was "too soon" and therefore ignored by the art press. The print is identified by Duardo in pencil on the front as an AP/Artist’s Proof next to an inscription “For Dante”. Two photographs of the original 1997 installation found online show two variations of this print. One with the show’s title “Applesauce and Pudding” and the other with the Nike catchphrase “Just Do It” sans the Nike Swoosh that is found in the bottom left of this print. So the thought is that this was a proof print for the work that appeared in the original 1997 show but never made it into the show and stayed in Duardo's archives.
In 2012 Duardo gifted the print to the unappreciative publisher of a Los Angeles art magazine who placed Duardo’s present in a “throw away” pile. An interesting bit of behavior that speaks volumes about the publisher's personality and his commitment to the artists his magazine covered. Employees of the magazine were given the opportunity to take anything they wanted from the pile. A writer at the magazine found the print in the pile and rescued it. She brought it home and promptly gifted it to her then-boyfriend, knowing he would appreciate it considering his dark sense of humor. She was right and the new owner (a local downtown journalist) immediately ran out and had it lovingly framed. He has owned and adored the piece for the last six years but unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, has to part with it and decided to consign it with These Days. We loved the print as well as its story so much so we have devoted the entire gallery to this single piece of Los Angeles art history for one week. As far as we know, this is the first time this print has ever been exhibited or offered for sale.
RICHARD DUARDO ARTIST BIOGRAPHY
Richard Duardo, born in 1952 grew up in the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles and has long been a legend in the Los Angeles art world. He is an artist and Master Printer with more than 25 years experience producing works for over 450 artists including David Hockney, John Van Hamersveld, Mark Mothersbaugh, Chaz Bohorquez, and Keith Haring. Duardo graduated with a degree in graphic design from UCLA in 1976 and spent 1977 as an apprentice to master printer Jeff Wasserman at historic LA print studio Gemini GEL where he worked with some of the most notable artists on the West Coast at that time including Ed Moses, Edward Ruscha, Patrick Nagel, Lita Albuquerque, and Judy Chicago.
He became one of the first artists to work at Self-Help Graphics in Boyle Heights, a now-famous organization that provided training and exposure to young artists and community members of inner-city Los Angeles. As one of the primary centers incubating the nascent Chicano art movement, it became the west coast hub of the major Chicano Poster Movement, promoting art as a non-violent instrument of social change. In 1978 Duardo co-founded The Centro de Arte Publico, the first Chicano-owned serigraphy studio in Los Angeles that quickly became a hotbed of culture in the East LA community. It was here that Duardo would first collaborate with artists Carlos Almaraz, Guillermo Bejarano and John Valadez. His eventual departure from the Centro was the beginning of his mission to produce innovative works in print by artists from around the world. In the 1980s, In addition to his studio, called ‘Multiples Fine Art Printing’ at this time, he opened a traditional gallery space in the Arts District called Future Perfect. The studio also pressed records for its in-house label, Fatima Records, which captured the early Los Angeles punk scene and all movements that sought to disrupt the ‘system.’ Late at night, bands such as the Germs, Devo, and Los Lobos would perform on the studio’s rooftop.
Duardo also held leadership roles in major Los Angeles arts organizations. He joined the Board of Directors for Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, a nonprofit that promotes the intersection of art and public engagement and soon after was appointed to the Board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
As an artist, Duardo is known for producing large, vibrant colored serigraph prints of cultural icons. His contributions to arts and culture in Los Angeles are undeniably invaluable.
Richard Duardo passed away in November of 2014 at the age of 62.
"I believe artists fill in the space that life has mutilated and rendered mute."