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In Post-Election Pivot, Rob Pruitt to Show Obama Paintings at Gavin Brown Instead of ‘Celebrity Look-Alike’ Works

One of Rob Pruitt's Obama paintings.COURTESY GAVIN BROWN'S ENTERPRISE.

One of Rob Pruitt’s Obama paintings.


For the past few months, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise has been planning a show with Rob Pruitt based on a game the artist has long played on Instagram: pairing an art world figure with their celebrity doppelgänger. Some of the matches have been quite uncanny: Linda Yablonsky and Tom Petty; Jordan Wolfson and Andy Samberg; Jeff Koons and Mister Rogers; Gavin Brown and Mark Ruffalo. What’s more, Ruffalo had even agreed to sit for an interview with his art world look-alike for a book that’s to be published featuring every pairing thus far conceived by Pruitt. (Ruffalo and Brown did make sausages together at an art fair one time, if you recall.)

Great fun. The show was set to open November 18 at the gallery’s Grand Street space in Manhattan’s Chinatown, and it was to be called “Rob Pruitt’s Official Art World / Celebrity Look-alikes Series®©™”

Now, given the result of last week’s presidential election, that has changed. A release today said that the show opening November 18 at the Gavin Brown’s Enterprise space in Chinatown will still be a Rob Pruitt show, but it will be called “The Obama Paintings” and will presumably feature some of the nearly 3,000 paintings of the president that Pruitt has made since his election eight years ago. Each morning, he wakes up and makes a new one.  Last year they were featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, and he mailed the museum new paintings as he made them.

It’s unclear when we’ll get to see all those look-alike works. An email from a PR firm retained by GBE specifically to work on the show sent an email later in the afternoon, with only the following sentence: “The exhibition Rob Pruitt’s Official Art World / Celebrity Look-alikes Series ®©™ has been postponed.”

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