Rene Ricard, 1946-2014

  • It is a dark time for New York’s creative bohemia. Rene Ricard, known for his fierce intellect, speedy wit, and deep generosity was a guiding light in New York’s art world. The poet, dancer, painter, actor, art critic, and Warhol Superstar died on Saturday, February 1st.
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Rene Ricard (1946-2014) Photograph by Allen Ginsberg c.Estate of Allen Ginsberg  – courtesy Raymond Foye

Since the late 1960s Ricard has been a controversial trendsetter, appearing in influential literary, art and popular publications that profoundly contributed to the cultural discourse of the time.  At eighteen Rene joined Andy Warhol’s Factory and appeared in Warhol’s films including Kitchen, Chelsea Girls, and The Andy Warhol Story. In 1981 Ricard published “The Radiant Child,” the first major article about Jean Michel Basquiat in Artforum. He also has three published books of Poetry: Rene Ricard (1979), God With Revolver (1989), and Trusty Sarcophagus Co. (1990).

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  • Ricard was the author of the eponymous Rene Ricard 1979-1980, in its distinctive Tiffany Blue (the first publication of the DIA Foundation.)  Photo Courtesy of The Allen Ginsberg Project
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God With Revolver– Poems 1979-82 (1990)  (the only large-scale Hanuman book) Photo Courtesy of The Allen Ginsberg Project

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Love Poems (C U Z Editions, 1999) Photo Courtesy of The Allen Ginsberg Project

In 2003 Ricard released a limited edition book, Paintings and Drawings, a full color monograph of his art spanning over a twenty-year period. Vito Schnabel held an exhibition in 2012, titled “New Paintings and Not So New,” which featured Ricard’s works dating back a decade. In Ricard’s later years he immersed himself in turning his poems into artwork. According to Kory Grow, at the time of his death Rene was working on large-scale paintings.

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UNTITLED: “The World Was…”, 2011 oil, chalk on canvas 60″x 48″ Photo Courtesy of Vito Schnabel

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UNTITLED: “pre-nupt?”, 2011 oil, chalk on canvas 40″ x 29″ Photo Courtesy of Vito Schnabel

Rene Ricard was the King of The Chelsea Hotel Eccentrics, never boring, and always intensely creative. Rene’s close friend Rita Barros says, “Rene died on his own terms and surrounded by his close friends. We will all miss him dearly. New York will never be the same without him.” RxArt extends our deepest sympathies and warmest thoughts to Rene Ricard’s loved ones. His sparkling spirit and creative energy will never be forgotten.

  • – Jillian Siegel
Categories: Artists