Russell Young

United Kingdom 1959

Installation, Conceptual Art

Russell Young
Russell Young
United Kingdom
December 7, 2014

Russell Young  is a British artist born on March 13, 1959 in Northern England to an unwed mother. His first months he spent in foster care, and in nunnery and was adopted by Ken and Lesley Young when he was four months old. Since his early age he was drawn to an idea of the American dream. For him everything American he came in contact with represented freedom. He hated school and often skipped school entirely. He escaped to the football terraces with his father. He loved the chants and tough terrace culture. As many northern youths, he was born ripe into the Sex Pistols, Joy Division, New Order and the northern soul of the Wigan Casino.

He studied photography, film and graphic design under Jack Straw, at the Chester Art College. At that time his parents divorced. He continued on to Exeter Art College and to London where he couldn’t find a job. After months on the streets he began assisting photographer, Christos Raftopoulos, who took him under his wing and taught him to see a new world of light and sharp detail. Raftopoulos pushed Young to take on projects of his own. He started at the live club shows of Bauhaus, R.E.M. and the Smiths. The photographs were exquisite and he quickly picked up work for magazines and eventually began sessions for the record companies. In 1986, he shot the Faith sleeve for George Michael, launching him towards America and opportunity. He did portraits of Morrissey, Bjork, Springsteen, Dylan, New Order, Diana Ross, Paul Newman and many other celebrities. In 1992, Young moved to Hollywood. He met Finola Hughes, they married and life took shape for him in America. His career as a photographer and music video director was flourishing. He carved out the time and began to paint seriously. Young and Hughes moved to New York, where he’d eventually grown frustrated by the limits of the photograph and the commercial world around it. Hughes was seven months pregnant with their first son. He felt frozen and dead as a creative person, and decided to go to Tuscany to meditate on becoming an artist. Young returned to New York and rented a studio in Brooklyn and began a series of experiments he called, Combine Paintings. He also started what he believed were clearly extensions of photography. He begins his series of Pig Portraits. Young had spent his photographic career doing portraits of celebrities. He never felt he’d captured his subject as true and as powerfully as these new works. The answers to the questions he had of himself were in fact playing out in the Pig Portraits. They attacked the nature of photography, portraiture and prickly nature of celebrity itself. In 2003 he showed his first series of Pig Portraits in Los Angeles. The family moved back to California and built a house on the coast, 80 miles north of Los Angeles. Young built a studio on the compound and began working alone, focusing on the development of ideas and flying east to New York to work with his master printer and team. In 2007, he showed his Fame + Shame paintings in London. They were an exorcism, a gritty, bare ‘pop-art cocktail’ of America, seen through the eyes of the young man from the north of England, leading one through the glamour and glory to brutal chaos and brooding. Young began to use diamond dust in 2007, pressing the crystals into the enamel of the paintings. He hung the paintings from the trees of his California garden. In the monochrome paintings we recognize Marilyn Crying and Kurt Cobain. He called them Dirty Pretty Things. In 2009 he began the American Envy paintings, revisiting some of his most iconic social signifiers. Elvis, JFK and Charles Manson are the chaperons.

In February 2010, Young was admitted to the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California and diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, the Swine Flu. Young endured an 8-day induced coma with doctors and loved ones skeptical of recovery. After a lengthy stay in hospital, Young emerged from his near-death experience with severe memory loss and an incredibly weak body. Little by little, he built back his strength and began examining his life and his surroundings in a whole new way. He says, “I left the hospital and I had to learn to breath, write, draw, think, and walk for the second time in my life.” During this process of recovery, Young began to explore the nature of trauma and its effect on both the individual and cultural psyche. 2011 forced a seminal shift in his work. He began to work free from the domestication of art, like a feral boy, filled with a new, rough energy of violence, sex and power. From this two new series emerged. First, Helter Skelter paintings and next, Isolation series.

Young continues to challenge and reinvent himself using bold, forceful checks and assaults on his own systems to find new ways of expression. He uses themes, still with him from boyhood, to express feelings of isolation, alienation, entrapment and the marginalized dreams of an outsider fighting for a way into the light and expression. His work has been shown in London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, New York, Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles.

Russell Young lives and works on the California coast and in Brooklyn, New York.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Helter Skelter Bankrobber London, Miami Art Miami ContextSolo
2014MarilynModern Masters Fine Art, Miami ScopeSolo
2014Diamond DustHeather James Fine Art, Palm SpringsSolo
2014SUPERSTARModern Masters Fine Art, IndianapolisSolo
2014Lost Angeles Hopper+YoungMead Carney, LondonSolo
2014Spring ShowMead Carney, LondonSolo
2014Wild at HeartImitate Modern, LondonSolo
2013DreamlandBankrobber London, LondonSolo
2013The Fight of the Paso Del MarBankrobber London, LondonSolo
2013Kate MossCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeSolo
2013SuicideBankrobber London, LondonSolo
2013SuicideGalerie G. Hartinger Fine Arts, ViennaSolo
2013SuicideVertes Modern Art Zurich, ZurichSolo
2013Private ViewTaglialatella Galleries, ParisSolo
2013Rethinking the American DreamModern Masters Fine Art, IndianapolisSolo
2013Kate Moss Private ViewTaglialatella Gallery, New YorkSolo
2013Kate MossWhite Walls, San FranciscoSolo
2012Kate MossArt Basel Miami Overture, MiamiSolo
2012Diamond DustGuy Hepner, Los AngelesSolo
2012Rolling Stones 50th AnniversaryRolling Stones, New YorkSolo
2012Russell YoungVertes Modern Art Zurich, ZurichSolo
2012Entertainment for MenPlayboy Club, LondonSolo
2012This Land is My LandTaglialatella Galleries, New YorkSolo
2012Diamond DustArt Basel Miami Overture, MiamiSolo
2012Private ShowGoss Michael Foundation, DallasSolo
2012Russell YoungGalerie G. Hartinger Fine Arts, Art Kiev Contemporary, KievSolo
2012A Working Class Hero is Something To BeLong-Sharp Gallery, IndianapolisSolo
2012A RetrospectiveGoss Michael Foundation, DallasSolo
2012Only Anarchists Are PrettyGoss Michael Foundation, DallasSolo
2012The Queen is DeadGuy Hepner, Los AngelesSolo
2012The Last Picture ShowGalerie G. Hartinger Fine Arts, ViennaSolo
2012The Last Picture ShowLong-Sharp / Curis Modern and Contemporary, DetroitSolo
2011The Last Picture ShowGuy Hepner, Bal HarbourSolo
2011American Envy IIILong-Sharp / Curis Modern and Contemporary, DetroitSolo
2011Last Picture ShowGuy Hepner, Los AngelesSolo
2011Helter SkelterGallery, Southampton, NYSolo
2011American Envy IIGallery, Southampton, NYSolo
2011Works on PaperWhisper, LondonSolo
2011American Envy IScream, LondonSolo
2011Diamond DustGalerie G. Hartinger Fine Arts, ViennaSolo
2011Icons Galerie de Bellefeuille, MontrealSolo
2011Death of a Disco Dancer LIVEArt of Elysium, Los AngelesSolo
2011Russell YoungGuy Hepner @ LAAS, Los AngelesSolo
2010Russell YoungTaglialatella Galleries, ParisSolo
2010Diamonds are ForeverScream, LondonSolo
2010Icons & Iconoclasts Karl Hutter Fine Art, Beverly HillsSolo
2010Pig PortraitsGuy Hepner, Los AngelesSolo
2010ScreamSaatchi Gallery, LondonSolo
2010Russell YoungRobinsons Art Gallery, Knokke-Zoute, BelgiumSolo
2010Diamond DustRusseck Gallery, San FranciscoSolo
2010New PaintingsGuy Hepner, Los AngelesSolo
2010Dirty Pretty ThingsCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeSolo
2010Dirty Pretty ThingsScream, LondonSolo
2010Selected WorksKarl Hutter Fine Art, Beverly HillsSolo
2010Russell YoungAberson Exhibits, TulsaSolo
2010Dirty Pretty ThingsTaglialatella Galleries, Palm BeachSolo
2009Personal Jesus LIVEMILK Gallery, Miami Fountain Art FairSolo
2009Dirty Pretty ThingsNikola Rukaj Gallery, TorontoSolo
2009Dirty Pretty ThingsRusseck Gallery, San FranciscoSolo
2009Dirty Pretty ThingsValentino, New YorkSolo
2009Dirty Pretty ThingsGuy Hepner, Los AngelesSolo
2009Dirty Pretty ThingsGallery, SouthamptonSolo
2009Goat Bood LIVEBankrobber, Ithaca, GreeceSolo
2009Russell Young Works on LinenGalerie, CologneSolo
2009The History of Violence LIVEGallery, New YorkSolo
2009The Last Picture ShowSims Reed Gallery, LondonSolo
2008Cocaine #1 LIVEGallery at Scope, MiamiSolo
2008Russell YoungKarl Hutter Fine Art, Beverly HillsSolo
2008Diamond DustGallery, SouthamptonSolo
2008Fame+Shame LIVEGallery, SouthamptonSolo
2008Rebel RebelArt of Elysium at Milk Gallery, New YorkSolo
2008Russell YoungCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeSolo
2008Punk+GrafittiMilk Gallery, New YorkSolo
2007Russell YoungAltermann Modern, San FranciscoSolo
2007HorsepowerMilk Gallery, New YorkSolo
2007Works On PaperSims Reed Gallery, New YorkSolo
2007StormVanina Holasek Gallery, New YorkSolo
2007Fame+ShameBankrobber, LondonSolo
2007Los AngelesGalerie Adler, ParisSolo
2007Pig PortraitsGallery, SouthamptonSolo
2007InkSims Reed Gallery, Art Basel MiamiSolo
2006White RabbitThe Art Of Elysium, Beverly HillsSolo
2006Warhol and YoungSims Reed Gallery, Miami Art BaselSolo
2006Russell YoungSims Reed Gallery, LondonSolo
2005Fame+ShameVanina Holasek Gallery, New YorkSolo
2005Fame+ShameThe Art Of Elysium, Los AngelesSolo
2003Pig PortraitsSP Gallery, LondonSolo
2003Pig PortraitsThe Art Of Elysium at Don Melveney Gallery, Los AngelesSolo
2014POP-FICTION212 Gallery, AspenGroup
2014Art SouthamptonTagliatella Gallery, SouthamptonGroup
2014GiantCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2014The Shock of the NewMead Carney, Porto MontenegroGroup
2014MasterpieceLong Sharp Gallery, LondonGroup
2014Art MonacoGalerie G. Hartinger Fine Arts, MonacoGroup
2014MarilynTaglialatella Gallery, ParisGroup
2014KunstVertes Modern, ZurichGroup
2014Grafix 14Vertes Modern, ZurichGroup
2013Works on PaperThe Cat Street Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2013Group ShowTaglialatella Gallery in Art Elysée, ParisGroup
2013David BowieArt Gallery of Ontario, TorontoGroup
2013Icons and IronyModern Masters Fine Art, IndianapolisGroup
2013Masterpiece LondonModern Masters Fine Art, LondonGroup
2013Art SouthamptonTagliatella Gallery, SouthamptonGroup
2013Private SaleSincura Group, LondonGroup
2013Art Basel Vertes Modern Art Zurich, BaselGroup
2013RockTagliatella Gallery Paris, ParisGroup
2013LA Art ShowArt of Elysium, Los AngelesGroup
2012The Image Is One ThingCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2012Summer ExhibitionScream, LondonGroup
2012Marilyn 50 YearsGuy Hepner, Los AngelesGroup
2012SF Fine Art FairWhite Walls, San FranciscoGroup
2012MarilynTagliatella Gallery Paris, ParisGroup
2011POP and Contemporary American ArtTagliatella Gallery Paris, ParisGroup
2011New YorkTagliatella Gallery Paris, ParisGroup
2011ScopeMallick Williams, MiamiGroup
2011Arts for a Better WorldTaglialatella Gallery, MiamiGroup
2011Art TorontoGalerie de Bellefeuille, TorontoGroup
2011Monkier Art FairScream+Whisper, LondonGroup
2011ScopeGallery, HamptonsGroup
2011It's a Wonderful LifeCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2011Group ShowBDG, BrooklynGroup
2011RE:DEFINEThe Future Tense, DallasGroup
2011Pop PopCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2011Scream NowScream, LondonGroup
2011HuelessMallick Williams Gallery, New YorkGroup
2011Art Stage SingaporeCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2011Printer ProofsBertrand Delacroix Gallery, New YorkGroup
2011Gallery CollectionCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2010Art Basel MiamiGallery, MiamiGroup
2010Art of Elysium Private CollectionArt of Elysium, Los AngelesGroup
2010Royal AcademyEyestorm, LondonGroup
2010Art ChicagoNikola Rukaj Gallery, ChicagoGroup
2010Russell YoungDoyle Devere, LondonGroup
2009Christmas ShowScream, LondonGroup
2009Urban LegendsCollectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2009Cologne Art FairGalerie, CologneGroup
2009Eloquent DelinquentsThe Eloquent Delinquents, New YorkGroup
2009Untitled 1 (Spring 2009)Collectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2009Pop, LibertyThe Sims Reed Gallery at Liberty, LondonGroup
2009The Royal Academy, The London Original Print FairSims Reed, LondonGroup
2009Works on PaperSims Reed, New YorkGroup
2008InkSims Reed Gallery, MiamiGroup
2008ICONS108 Fine Art, HarrogateGroup
2007Pop!Collectors Contemporary, SingaporeGroup
2007Giddy UpNewzones Gallery, CalgaryGroup
2007ErosGalerie Adler, ParisGroup
2007Modern Master PrintsSims Reed Gallery, LondonGroup
2007ScopeVanina Holasek Gallery, BaselGroup
2007Works on PaperSims Reed Gallery, New YorkGroup
2006Aid for AidsWindemere Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
2006Who's That GirlVanina Holasek Gallery, New YorkGroup
2006BoilermakerStellan Holm Gallery, New YorkGroup
2006Modern Master PrintsSims Reed Gallery, LondonGroup
2006Beast and the BeautyVanina Holasek Gallery, New YorkGroup
2005OutlawsVanina Holasek Gallery, New YorkGroup
2001Art Heals, Twin Towers Orphan FundNew Museum of Art and Technology, New YorkGroup