Neal Baer Collection

Richard Hawkins

After Artaud: The Sexual Awkwardness of God, Sperm Traps


Concrete, air-dry clay, cardboard tube, boxes, office hardware, cow’s blood and collage on panel

27 x 23 x 6 in (68.6 x 58.4 x 15.2 cm)

Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

Richard Hawkins (b. 1961, Mexia, Texas) has lived and worked in Los Angeles since the 1990s. His mixed media practice, with a focus on collage, expresses “very agitated, sometimes embarrassingly personal and presumably cathartic exegesis of male desire.After Artaud: The Sexual Awkwardness of God, Sperm (2019) is one of a series of ceramic and collage works begun in 2015 “min[ing] the post-electroshock drawings of Antonin Artaud for imagery and evidence of a mind set free to wander into the darkly erotic domain of the preternatural.”

Specifically referencing Artaud’s drawing, The Sexual Awkwardness of God (c. 1946), Hawkins’ “sperm trap” assembles a phallic object of a toilet paper roll embedded in magenta-painted cement, copies of elements in Artaud’s drawing, and traps constructed of sharp metal office fasteners and matchboxes featuring portrait photos of Artaud and Hawkins’ drawings of Artaud’s Tarahumara-inspired hieroglyphs. Originally exhibited in a 2019 exhibition entitled “Bait Paintings,” this work was juxtaposed with Hawkins’ Lure Paintings series, intensely colored paintings embedded with images of male heartthrobs and leaked nudes, “approximat[ing] a contemporary form of idol worship.

Greene Naftali

“Richard Hawkins,” Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, 8 March – 19 April, 2019

Other works by Richard Hawkins
Brig #5, Cumpire (2012)

See also
Stephen Barber, “A Foundry of Figure: Antonin Artaud,” Artforum, September 1987

Johanna Fateman, “Richard Hawkins,” Artforum Critic’s Picks, September 23, 2016

Eric Sutphin, “Richard Hawkins,” Frieze, October 29, 2016

“Richard Hawkins: Norogachi: Ceramics after Artaud,” Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, 9 September – 22 October, 2016

“Richard Hawkins: Third Mind,” at the Art Institute of Chicago, 21 October 2010 – 15 January 2011 and at the Hammer Museum, 12 February – 22 May 2011

Richard Hawkins in the Art Institute of Chicago collection

Richard Hawkins in the Hammer Museum collection

Richard Hawkins in the MoMA collection

Richard Hawkins in the Whitney Museum collection

Richard Hawkins at Gallery Buchholz

Richard Hawkins at Greene Naftali