Celebrating in style: Rob Pruitt’s 50th birthday bash turned exhibition at The Brant Foundation

Celebrating in style: Rob Pruitt’s 50th birthday bash turned exhibition at The Brant Foundation

You only turn 50 once and to celebrate his birthday, Rob Pruitt, with the help of publisher and art patron Peter Brant, decided to throw a birthday bash/exhibition at the Brant Foundation Art Study Centre in Greenwich, Connecticut. ’I love the regular conventions of life, like milestone birthdays and weddings and bar mitzvahs,’ said Pruitt, whose party invitation came with a self-portrait. Entitled ’The Exquisite Corpse’, the portrait features in the show and is a ’mash-up of four narratives that tell the story of my turning 50,’ says the artist.

The exhibition, appropriately titled ’50th Birthday Bash,’ is on display throughout September 2015, and displays primarily new work from Pruitt. Starting with some abstract paintings of red and pink on foil panels from 2006 and ending with his latest pieces, including several tire planters, and a tribute to his father called ’My Father’s Urn.’ The contentious piece contains his father’s actual ashes in a corvette urn. A number of quirky self-portraits show various sides of Pruitt, while rainbow gradation canvases carry simple faces. Pruitt also revisits his ’Esprit de Corps’ pieces from the last decade, with a bench made from two pairs of rainbow gradation jeans from his J.Brand collaboration, and a larger sculpture made with dozens of J. Crew jeans, graciously donated by creative director Jenna Lyons. The panda bear, a signature character in his work, is also shown throughout the show. ’A panda becomes a sort of Christ figure, a symbol of martyrdom for all of our reckless greed and consumption,’ said Pruitt, who also calls pandas ’irresistibly cute.’

But no doubt, the most popular work of all on 10 May, was not the series of googly-eyed trees that Pruitt created on the polo field, but the flea market installation, filled with the Brant family’s possessions. From Stephanie Seymour’s Chanel suits to Peter Brant’s slippers, guests were welcome to purchase the products. ’I think of it as a Brant family portrait,’ said Pruitt.

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