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Aspen Art Museum

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Nate Lowman: Before and After


Taking humanity and popular culture as his subject matter, Nate Lowman (born 1979) approaches these themes as an active participant in the collective American experience. Underscoring this is desire: a longing for something or someone, or a wish for something to happen. The duality inherent in desire is contained in Lowman’s use of well-known images whose meanings are both instantly recognizable and constantly in flux. Appropriated, relatable images and language from American pop culture and its 24-hour news cycle form a narrative and tell part of the American story. Angels, poppies, hearts, pine-tree air fresheners, smiley faces, iconic celebrities, crosses and news articles—all presented through the lens of desire—confront viewers with the things of modern life that are often left unsaid and unexamined.

For more than a decade, Nate Lowman has produced paintings, sculptures, and (often salon-style) installations that process and represent the unfolding human experience in a visual environment of endlessly proliferating public media archives. Re-presenting and reframing techniques of image reproduction as painterly practice, Lowman constructs narratives condensed in layers of studio techniques, including printing, cropping, projecting, cutting, staining, repurposing, lacquering, stripping and stretching. His paintings explore the capacity of images to mediate between the personal and the universal in cycles of decay and renewal.

Published on the occasion of the Aspen Art Museum’s exhibition of the New York–based artist, “Nate Lowman: Before and After” is the first comprehensive monograph on the artist to date.