Richard Art Hambleton (Vancouver, Canada, 1952 – New York, 2017) was a Canadian artist known for his work as a street artist. He was a surviving member of a group that emerged from the New York City art scene during the booming art market of the 1980s, which also included Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
A splash of red paint
The artist is recognized as a pivotal intermediary between Abstract Expressionism and the popular “art for the masses” graffiti that boomed in the 1980s.
He’s early work includes a public art series called Mass Murder (1976 – 1978) in which he painted ‘chalk’ outlines around the bodies of a volunteer ‘homicide victim’ in public places. Finished with a splash of red paint, these works gave the viewer the impression of a realistic crime scene. Hambleton created his ‘Shadowmen’ across cities such as Paris, London, and Rome. In 1984 he painted 17 Shadowmen on the East side of the Berlin Wall and returned a year later to adorn the West side.
Most important exhibitions
The artist participated in both the 1984 and 1988 Venice Biennale. In April 2017, a documentary following Hambleton’s rise to success and devotion to painting premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and The Zellermeyer in Berlin; The Andy Warhol Museum; Austin Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; The New Museum of Contemporary Art; The Brooklyn Museum; The Queens Museum and Harvard University.