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Rick Lowe in front of Black Wall Street Journey #6 (2021).
Photo: Brent Reaney, Courtesy of Rick Lowe Studio and Gagosian

Creative Mind: Rick Lowe

The Houston-based artist strives to directly address issues of equity and justice through his practice

Rick Lowe. Photo: Brent Reaney

Rick Lowe is a shining example of how creativity can empower people and communities to spark economic, social, and political change. Over the past few decades, the Alabama-born, Houston-based artist has worked both inside and outside art-world institutions, participating in exhibitions and developing award-winning social projects, including the famed Project Row Houses. Whether it is paintings, drawings, or grassroots works made in collaboration with local neighborhoods, Lowe strives to directly address issues of equity and justice. “My journey has always been to figure out how to push art forward in a way that has the deepest impact on the community,” he says.

Full Circle: In the past few years, Lowe has returned to painting with gusto. Finding freedom in abstraction, he makes large-scale canvases that are often based on the game of dominoes. “When I am doing these projects, it is all about trying to figure things out, to offer up answers to very difficult and challenging questions,” he says. “But in the painting studio, I can go back to raising the questions without answering them. The work is allowed to be much more open-ended.”

Black Wall Street Journey #5, 2021 Photo: Thomas Dubrock, Courtesy of Gagosian

“My journey has always been to figure out how to push art forward in a way that has the deepest impact on the community”

rick lowe

Project Row Houses, Houston 1993–2018 Photo: Courtesy of Rick Lowe

What’s Next: Recently signed with mega-gallery Gagosian, which will present his first-ever New York solo show in September, Lowe will participate in the Whitney Biennial in April. 

Installation views of Rick Lowe paintings in Social Works, June 23–August 13, 2021. Photo: Rob McKeever, Courtesy of Gagosian

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2022 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.” Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: Rick Lowe in front of Black Wall Street Journey #6 (2021).
Photo: Brent Reaney, Courtesy of Rick Lowe Studio and Gagosian

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