los-angeles

Richard Hawkins

Richard Telles Fine Art

“It is doubtless an excellent thing to study the old masters in order to learn how to paint,” wrote Charles Baudelaire, “but it can be no more than a waste of labor if your aim is to understand the special nature of present-day beauty.” Baudelaire wanted the best of both worlds: a painter able to apply the skills of the past but dedicated to capturing the contemporary world’s “pageant of fashionable life and the thousands of floating existences.” Baudelaire, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s coffeehouse observations of modern humanity, from “steady old fellows” to “the race of swell pick-pockets,” would have loved Richard Hawkins’s latest paintings.

A student of visual culture from mainstream to highfalutin to fringe, Hawkins has now become a student of painting in particular—a shift signaled by his late ’90s inkjet prints, which, as Baudelaire might have it, depict today’s fashionable and

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