Rick Lowe Went From the Fields of Alabama to a Solo Exhibit


Rick Lowe; Painter: Artist


Rick Lowe, 61, is a painter and social-practice artist whose works are inspired by community relationships and everyday activities. His solo exhibit, “Meditations on Social Sculpture,” opens at New York’s Gagosian gallery on Sept. 8. He spoke with Marc Myers. 

We didn’t use chalk to draw games on the ground as a kid, we used sticks. Growing up in rural Alabama, there was a practice called “sweeping the yard.” This involved clearing the grass from around your home and eliminating the risk of wild critters and snakes hiding in there.

Once the grass was cleared, we used sticks to draw tic-tac-toe and hopscotch boards in the dirt, as well as a bunch of made-up games. When we finished, we erased it with a broom.

I’ve always been fascinated by folk aspects of street and table games, like checkers and dominoes. They bring people together and stimulate relationships and storytelling.  

I grew up in Russell County, Ala., in the southeastern part of the state. Many homes were a mile or so apart, separated by farmland. We moved around, but all of the houses we lived in were the color of weathered wood.


By Marc Myers






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