Nate Lowman portrait - Photo by Katie Orlinsky

Nate Lowman

United States 1979

Installation, Sculpture, Painting, Collage

Nate Lowman
Nate Lowman
United States
August 9, 2016

Reconciling the detritus of pop culture with an aim of interpreting things and making a dialogue with the audience, Nate Lowman transforms the “found” visual language that lies between personal and collective. His paintings conjoin techniques of collage and appropriation using the isolate images from popular and consumerist culture manipulated through contemporary mediums as graffiti, print media, and bumper stickers. Focusing on the critique of society issues such as the cult of celebrity, violence or exaggerated materiality, his work takes the shape of familiar things unified by the artist’s part-trash, part-classical aesthetic. His installations could be described as recently buried time capsules with transparent qualities of a diary but deprived of direct emotion. For a typical young artist who works in the frame of revisionist punk aesthetic that comments on culture, religion, and politics, Lowman creates surprisingly refined pieces that range from painting and collage to sculptures.

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Nate Lowman – Pit Money, 2016

Early Life and Artistic Beginnings

Lowman was born in 1979 in Las Vegas and grew up in Idyllwild, California, a town in the mountains above Palm Springs, in which his father ran a nonprofit art school. After he finished the High School in 1997, he moved to the east coast to attend New York University, at the same time working as a security guard at the Dia Art Foundation. Finishing his studies, he got his first studio in Bed-Stuy where he created numerous artworks inspired by 9/11 attack, including interesting wall collage dedicated to John Walker Lindt, young American sentenced to 20 years for his involvement with Taliban. It represented images of different long-bearded men, from his father and Jim Morrison to some weirdos and pedophiles. This work has attracted the attention of Don and Mera Rubell, collectors from Miami, who purchased everything the artists had created for $20,000, which was enough for him to quit his day job and completely dedicate to his creative expression.

Lowman explores violence and decay of American culture

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Nate Lowman – America Sneezes, Installation view, 2015

Art of Nate Lowman

Famous both as a neo-appropriation artist and a ringleader of the late-night downtown art crowd, Lowman uses collage and preemption, often of well-known elements such as bumper stickers and graffiti: “A lot of the images I use are already out there in the public or in the news. I just steal them or photograph them or repaint them, so they’ve already been talked about, already been consumed. I’m just reopening them to get at their second, third, or fourth meanings. It really comes down to language. I feel like the biggest failure of humans is miscommunication. We can’t communicate with each other – we can fight, we can kill, we can do those things well. Language is the most beautiful and destructive thing because it allows you to express yourself, but it totally confuses everything.” It could be said that his artwork critiques a lifestyle of a modern day American, the cult of celebrity, material consumption, gun culture, and explore violence and decay of American culture. His art is influenced by Richard Prince and Cady Noland, and some of his large-scale works are created in collaboration with artist Dan Colen. His work has taken many forms, silkscreens of bullet holes, trashed cars, rusted gas-station pumps and smiley faces. Wet Pain (2008), an installation of a 1971 white Jaguar that had been effectively trashed, which was created with Colen, is a good example of a variety of mediums that he uses for his artworks. Works like Bullet Hole (2005), a silkscreen of a bullet hole rendered in a cartoonish Pop aesthetic, is a good example of Lowman’s creative practice. His smiley faces, that he took from various sources, putting them in new contexts, including a painting of O. J. Simpson’s signature which was made inspired by O.J. Simpson’s letter and signature, are another good example of his artistic practice.

Installation Wet Pain is a good example of a variety of mediums that he uses for his art

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Nate Lowman and Dan Colen – Wet Pain, Installation view, 2008

Lowman’s Exhibitions

His first solo show The End. And Other American Pastimes has been held at Maccarone Gallery, New York in 2005 and since then, Lowman has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and Palazzo Grassi, Venice. After his four institutional one-person shows – Axis of Praxis (2006, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN), The Natriot Act (2009, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo), I Wanted To Be An Artist But All I Got Was This Lousy Career (2012, Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT), and America Sneezes (2015, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX), Lowman continues to exhibit frequently in the United States and abroad.

Nate Lowman lives and works in New York.

Featured image: Nate Lowman portrait, 2009 – Image via
All images copyright of N. Lowman

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumnSolo/Group
2016Shrines To Speed. Art And The Automobile: From The Minimal To The PostmodernLeila Heller Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2016Nate Lowman - World of InteriorsChampagne-Ardenne, ReimsSolo
2016Nate Lowman - Downtown Is A ConstructMassimo De Carlo London, LondonSolo
2015Sprayed - Works From 1929 To 2015Gagosian Gallery, LondonGroup
2015Geometries On And Off The Grid: Art From 1950 To The Present The Warehouse, Dallas, TXGroup
2015Second ChancesAspen Art Museum, Aspen, COGroup
2015Love for Three OrangesGladstone Gallery - Brussels, BrusselsGroup
2015Drip Drop ThudMcCabe Fine Art, StockholmGroup
2015The World is Made of StoriesAstrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, OsloGroup
2015Nate Lowman - America SneezesDallas Contemporary, DallasSolo
2014Weeping Atlas CedarMassimo de Carlo, LondonSolo
2014Rave The PainforestMaccarone, NYCSolo
2012I Wanted To Be An Artist But All I Got Was This Lousy CareerBrant Foundation Art Study Center, GreenwichSolo
2012Swiss Cheese and The DoorsMassimo de Carlo, MilanSolo
2011Bed BugsGavin Brown’s Enterprise, New YorkGroup
201130 Million Dollar Smile muralTriple A, Los AngelesSolo
2010Fill You with HolesCarlson Gallery, LondonSolo
2010Come As You Are AgainSalon 94, New YorkGroup
2010Skin Fruit: Selection from the Dakis Jounnou CollectionNew Museum, New York Group
2010Fresh HellPalais De Tokyo, ParisGroup
2010The Last NewspaperNew Museum of Contemporary Art, New YorkGroup
2010Haunted: Contemporary Photography-Video-Performance, Solomon. RGuggenheim MuseumGroup
2009Esquire’s Singular SuitSomerset House, LondonGroup
2009Beg Borrow and StealRubell Family Collection, MiamiGroup
2009New York Minute: 60 Artisti della scena newyorcheseMACRO Future, Rome Group
2009Bande – AnnonceNew Galerie de France, Paris Group
2009A Dog From Every CountyMaccarone Gallery, New YorkSolo
2009Mapping the StudioPalazzo Grassi, VeniceGroup
2009The Natriot Act, Nate LowmanAstrup Fearnly Museey for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Sweden Solo
2008SunshineRental Gallery, New YorkGroup
2008Meet Me Round The Corner, works form the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Astrup FearnleyMuseet for Moderne Kunst, OsloGroup
2008Murder LettersGaleria Filomena Soares, Lisbon Group
2008The Dead LecturerNicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New YorkSolo
2008ExpenditureThe Busan Biennale, BusanGroup
2007Carnegie Art Award 2006Den frie udstilling, CopenhagenGroup
20072 Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art MoscowBiennale of Contemporary Art, MoscowGroup
2007Uncertain States of AmericaHerning Kunstmuseum, HerningGroup
2007Dark Victory, Ileane Tounta Contemporary Art Centre, AthensGroup
2007Memorial to the Iraq WarICA, Institute of Contemporary Arts London Group
2007Prague Biennale 3Prague Biennale, Prague Group
2007Fractured Figure: Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection, Deste FoundationCentre for Contemporary Art, AthensGroup
2007Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st centuryNew Museum of Contemporary Art, New YorkGroup
2007Uncertain States of AmericaGalerie Rudolfinum, PragueGroup
2006FoundBortolami Dayan, New York Group
2006MangoesPeres Projects, Los Angeles Group
2006Denial is a RiverSculpture Center, Long Island Group
2006Seriality Part IIRubell Family Collection, Miami Group
2006Down by LawThe Wrong Gallery at the Whitney Biennial 2006, New York Group
2006SurvivorBortolami Dayan, New York Group
2006The Studio VisitEXIT ART, New York Group
2005Greater New YorkP.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York Group
2005Uncertain States of America: American Art in the 3rd MillenniumAstrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Norway Group
2005TradeWhitecolumns, New York Group
2004Capitals and ConstructsYear, New York Group
2004Nate LowmanRitter-Zamet, LondonSolo
2004The Mythological MachineMead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, CoventryGroup
2004Let the Bullshit Run a MarathonNicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York Group
2004Drunk vs. StonedGavin Brown’s Enterprise at Passerby, New YorkGroup
2004Power, Corruption, and LiesRoth Horowitz, New YorkGroup
2004Happy Days Are Here AgainDavid Zwirner, New YorkGroup
2004I Love MusicCreative Growth Gallery, San FranciscoGroup
2003A Matter of FactsNicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New YorkGroup
2003ForeplayRitter-Zamet, London Group
2003Group ShowMarcus Ritter, New YorkGroup
2003Airtight Plan For KillingBuia Gallery, New York Group
2003No platform just a trampolineMarcus Ritter, New York Group