Wild at Heart by Russell Young at Imitate Modern
Imitate Modern presents its latest exhibition Wild at Heart by British pop artist Russell Young. Curated by Sascha Bailey, the exhibition consists of images of iconic pop figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali, alongside British rock legends Sid Vicious and Mick Jagger. Prints of celebrities are literally coated in diamond dust in a star studded-bid to commemorate the golden years of celebrity culture.
Young’s international pop artist status sprang from his early interest in photographing musicians including REM and The Smiths. Continuing on with an interest in photography and music, Young shot album sleeves for artists including Morrissey, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Newman. Captured by celebrity culture, his earliest artistic works on canvas, such as the Pig Portraits, openly challenge traditional celebrity portraiture through his production of celeb mug-shot prints.
One thing that is clear from the Wild at Heart series is his indebtedness to Andy Warhol through his print process and subject matters. The likeness is almost uncomfortably apparent, lacking the “here and now” and intimacy that Warhol shared with his subjects during his Factory days. Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych was completed during the weeks after Monroe’s death and addresses her celebrity status, portrayal by the media and early death. Young’s glitzy prints salute old school Hollywood glamour and appear to sugar-coat as opposed to challenge representations of iconic Hollywood figures. Whether they act to immortalise golden age celebrities, or how Mick Jagger and a young Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver are relevant to the dazzling theme of the exhibition, they are questionable.
His artworks might not serve as highly influential pieces of modern art but they are approachable and accessible (if you happen to have £9,000 lying round), and have appeared in the private collections of his celebrity cult following including that of Kanye West, David Bowie and Kate Moss.
Wild at Heart by Russell Young is at Imitate Modern from 29th March until 26th April 2014. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.
For further information about Russell Young visit here.