Richard and Famous

With its foundations in Andy Warhol’s mantra that everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes, the forthcoming show at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery casts a critical eye over the notion of celebrity.

The Richard Simpkin and Simone Lueck: Richard and Famous show is curated by photographer Martin Parr, who will also be showing photographs from his collection of objects, such as images he has collected at flea markets, in the gallery alongside the exhibition.

Francine in the livingroom (2009) From The Once and Future Queens

Source: © Simone Lueck.

Francine in the livingroom (2009) From The Once and Future Queens

Since 1989 Simpkin has been relentlessly pursuing the famous in order to have, by proxy, his own 15 minutes of fame in being photographed with them. Over this 12-year period he has managed to be snapped alongside such ‘sleb big guns as Audrey Hepburn to Muhammad Ali, Kylie Minogue to Nelson Mandela. He now has a collection of over 1000 images.

 Keanu Reeves 1995 From the series Richard and Famous 1989 - 2011.

Source: © Richard Simpkin

Keanu Reeves 1995 From the series Richard and Famous 1989 – 2011.

Parr says, ‘Richard Simpkin’s work is a true revelation. Obsessively having his photo taken with the celebrities of the world, he shows them almost to be puppets in his own game of charades.

‘Knowing how difficult it is to get access to celebrities in this day and age, it is an awesome achievement, and turns his whole game into a compelling piece of art.’

Drew Barrymore 1998 From the series Richard and Famous 1989 - 2011.

Source: © Richard Simpkin

Drew Barrymore 1998 From the series Richard and Famous 1989 – 2011.

With his rotund face beaming out from the frame as he sidles up alongside Joan Collins in her leopard print, or wide-eyed with a hand on Jack Nicholson’s shoulder – the series presents an often disquieting, if rather sweet commentary on the 20th and 21st century fascination with fame.

Jack Nicholson 2007 From the series Richard and Famous 1989 - 2011.

Source: © Richard Simpkin

Jack Nicholson 2007 From the series Richard and Famous 1989 – 2011.

Lueck’s work takes on the idea of stardom in a rather different way, inviting women to actually be the stars they admire, rather than simply hounding them. The LA-based photographer posted adverts online that asked for older women to pose as their favourite film stars, with the results showing a charming, funny and occasionally poignant reflection of gender, self-esteem and mortality.

Mara as Brigitte Bardot (2009) From The Once and Future Queens

Source: © Simone Lueck.

Mara as Brigitte Bardot (2009) From The Once and Future Queens

Richard Simpkin and Simone Lueck: Richard and Famous runs from 13 January – 18 March at Open Eye Gallery,
19 Mann Island, 
Liverpool Waterfront
 Liverpool, L3

Mara chases her lover, in silk (2009) From The Once and Future Queens

Source: ©Simone Lueck.

Mara chases her lover, in silk (2009) From The Once and Future Queens

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