John Dogg
Frieze Masters, London

October 05–October 08, 2017

OCTOBER 5 – 8, 2017


Venus Over Manhattan is pleased to present John Dogg, an exhibition for Frieze Masters 2017 dedicated to works by John Dogg, a pseudonym under which Richard Prince exhibited works at American Fine Arts, Co., Colin de Land Fine Art and 303 Gallery. Venus’s exhibition marks the first solo presentation of work by John Dogg since it was initially exhibited in the late 1980s. In conjunction with the presentation, Venus will also publish an incomplete catalogue of known works and writings by John Dogg, from 1986 and onward.

Richard Prince was first introduced to Colin de Land through Lisa Spellman, who had exhibited works by Prince at 303 Gallery in 1985. The pseudonym John Dogg was born when Colin de Land invited Richard Prince to show at his gallery. Prince accepted the invitation under the condition that he exhibit work under a pseudonym, and de Land provided the name John Dogg. These works were first exhibited at American Fine Arts, Co., Colin de Land Fine Art in 1986, followed by a landmark solo exhibition in 1987, held jointly at neighboring venues American Fine Arts and 303 Gallery, on East Sixth Street. Since de Land’s death in 2003, Prince has on occasion returned to the John Dogg pseudonym, which he uses to make works or author texts.

Dogg worked predominantly in the vernacular of American car culture, specifically elevating the hobbyist’s obsession with the car as object and trophy to the realm of high art. He consistently returned to the presentation of otherwise mundane car parts, such as wheels and tires, which he mounted in wood or Plexiglas boxes. He also worked with enameled tire cases, which he mounted on the wall, working with the readymade in an almost Duchampian mode. Dogg’s work demonstrated a keen sensitivity for incorporating language and text into his work, as evidenced in a series of tire cover sculptures with the pseudonym etched or painted onto the work’s surface.

Dogg’s work engages issues of appropriation and labor alongside discussions of car culture, signage, and the American dream, all of which became vital thematic concerns for Richard Prince later in his career. The work produced under Dogg’s name in the 1980s gave Prince an experimental space to address and master the subjects that became central to his practice and critical success. With Colin de Land as coconspirator, Richard Prince created a body of work under the name John Dogg that engaged the core concerns of his practice, and mounted an effective critique of the white-hot art market of the 1980s.

Venus Over Manhattan will present a group of rarely exhibited works that document the scope of Dogg’s production, including sculpture, ephemera, printed books, and archival material that relate to Dogg’s exhibitions in the 1980s.

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