Jon Rafman Midterm

Jon Rafman is a artist, filmmaker, and essayist, whose work centers on the social, emotional, and existential impact that technology has on our life. He originally gained the public attention with his Nine Eyes of Google Street Views project. This project was his approach to capture photography in a post-internet light. One series of his works is named “Wrapped Rooms,” presented in New York in 2014, takes work that was done by big names in the artists world and put them into a three-dimensional room. When doing these “Wrapped Rooms,” he primarily used artwork done by Picasso, Monet, and Lichtenstein. Since gaining some popularity after his Nine Eyes of Google Street Views project, his work started appearing in different galleries in different parts of the world and was commissioned to make a LED tunnel in a 2019 show for a Parisian fashion house, and was even a finalist for Quebec twice, in 2015 and 2018, in a competition for the Sobey Art Award. But his popularity started dwindling in July of 2020 after allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse of power started coming out on Instagram. I am unsure whether these allegations are true, but it was enough to tarnish his reputation. In the wake of these allegations, museums that had planned to show his work in exhibitions either completely called off the planned events or put them on hold until the weather calmed. On top of what happened with the museums, the gallery in Montreal he had been partnered with cut ties with him.

With the wrapped rooms, he typically used artwork originally done by either Picasso, Monet, or Lichtenstein and wrapped them over everything in a room, but Monet, Picasso, and Lichtenstein weren’t the only artists that Jon Rafman used art from. Some include wrapping a Lichtenstein piece around a theater originally made by an artist named Keith Haring, as well as another Lichtenstein piece wrapped around a tavern, wrapping a piece by Monet around the bridge of the USS Enterprise, and even wrapping a piece originally done by Basquit around a classroom.

For two of the three images I am looking at, I don’t know if Picasso, Monet, or Lichtenstein did the original piece of work. But the first piece that I have, the original artwork is done by one of these three artists and wrapped around a living room, waiting room, or lounge area. With this piece it is really interesting to see a living room, waiting room, or lounge area covered in swatches of mostly warm colors. For the second piece, I do know that the original piece of art the Jon Rafman used was done by Picasso, named “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”, Jon wrapped around a living room, with some of it going up a set of stairs and a small section of a hallway in the back of the room. I’d seen a singular room with a fair amount of either the walls or furniture colored pink before, but I’d never seen a full room that was colored different shades of pink with areas of light blue and figures. For the third piece, I believe the original piece of art that was used was done by Lichtenstein, but I am not entirely sure. But this piece of work that Jon used, he wrapped around a bedroom. When I first looked at this piece, it seemed a bit childish, like a child had just thrown pain up onto a everything they could reach. But I feel like that gives it a distinct quality that is very interesting, and even more interesting that a distinguished artist was the one who made the original piece of art.

The main thing that are different between the three pieces done by Jon Rafman, and possibly the most obvious differences, is that all three pieces of work are using different pieces of art done by different artists and wrapped around three different types of room. One piece of art done by Picasso, one possibly being done by Lichtenstein, and one being done by a third, unknown artist (the one that looks like drapes that was wrapped around a waiting room or lounge area). The main, and also possibly more obvious, thing that all three of these pieces as a whole have in common are that the pieces of art are wrapped around rooms.

His artist page is here!