New York

Hannes Schmid, Cowboy #5 (Tailgate), 2007, oil on linen,
48 × 71".

Hannes Schmid

Mitchell Algus Gallery

Hannes Schmid, Cowboy #5 (Tailgate), 2007, oil on linen,
48 × 71".

The seventy-two-year-old Swiss artist Hannes Schmid—the subject of a compact, fascinating show at Mitchell Algus Gallery—is not a household name, but he can lay claim to a pair of intriguing distinctions in the postwar-image canon. First, he was among a select group of commercial photographers responsible for the pictures of handsomely weather-beaten cowboys in wide-open spaces in the iconic Marlboro Man ads, a campaign that turned a languishing brand originally pitched to women into the echt embodiment of consumerist masculinity and, not coincidentally, the best-selling cigarette in the United States. Later, the photographs he and his colleagues made would find a second life in the contemporary art world when they were appropriated by Richard Prince for Prince’s celebrated “Cowboy” series, which the artist began in the early 1980s while working a day job in the archive

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