Laura Owens
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Narrator: Like many of Owens’s paintings, this one has an energy that comes from a tension between the images on the surface and those that seem to exist a bit deeper in space. Here, the surface is loose and swirly—and there are a few kiss marks in the lower right. By contrast, the background largely consists of a regular, silkscreened grid, which Owens produced digitally. As you look at the paintings nearby, you’ll notice that Owens uses the same grid in paintings that otherwise look nothing like this one.

Ann Temkin: I think in all cases the background grids that are taken from a computer screen are always intersecting with completely improvised imagery and also hand-painted components.

Narrator: Ann Temkin is Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Ann Temkin: It's never a straight ready-made and it's never straight painting. They're all getting in each others’ ways. The way that it might occur to somebody that some of it is ready-made imagery is that when you look from painting to painting and see things recurring as in a print. This crisscross between silk screening, say, and painting goes back to [Robert] Rauschenberg and [Andy] Warhol who in the early sixties lifted from magazines, newspapers, elevated it to oils on canvas and mixed the idea of a ready-made image with their own whatever.

I think fifty, sixty years later, that same impulse is here upgraded to the newspaper and magazines of our time which are digital and the technologies of our time.


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