Richard Hambleton (1952 - 2017)
Archive of materials, ca. 1980
2- envelopes, one addressed to the artist Jeff Berner and the other addressed to then artist Al Souza, each envelope is stamped with Richard A. Hambleton, R. Dick Trace It, Investigation Department address, inside Berner’s envelope is a black R. Dick Trace It’s Perpetual Cyclic Calendar for the year 2000 and a folded xeroxed sheet stamped in green on the backside with “I.D.’s Mr. ReeeeSearch continues,” Souza’s envelope contains the same items except the calendar is blue; Richard Hambleton’s artist book I.D.’s Mr. ReeeeSearch Continued, Hambleton’s Fill In the Faces sheet, stamped twice with Richard A. Hambleton in red and in writing, “return April”; R. Dick Trace It two-sided postcard.
These materials are from Richard Hambleton’s early conceptual project, I.D.’s Mr. ReeeeSearch Continued. For one aspect of the project, intended to ironically describe the artist as a corporation, Hambleton meticulously charts his own creative output starting in 1973 and extending out into the year 2000. His R. Dick Trace It Perpetual Cyclic Calendar functions as a ruler in which the inner shaft can be moved in and out to predict the future of the artist; its phallic shaft fully extended in peak years of productivity and retreated post-coitus style during the slump years. Here, overt sexual innuendo is paired with market productivity. To further enhance this concept, the rise and fall of Hambleton’s creativity is plotted in stylized graphs and charts that read like the projected profits and losses of a corporation.
I.D.’s Mr. ReeeeSearch Continued includes an essay by Hambleton about his Image Murder outline series which he started in Vancouver, Canada and moved around the world. In this artist's book, Hambleton creates an unfinished head and shoulders portrait and enlists a number of artists to fill in the details and send him their finished portrait. Participants include: John Bennett, Buster Cleveland, Sera Tin, Peter Below, Robin Crozier, G A Cavellini, Anna Banana, Ulises Carrion, Ken Friedman, among others. The title page of this book carries Davi Det Hompson stamp with address and phone number. Back inside cover bears Hambleton’s stamp and “Trace it” stamp.
Richard Hambleton (1952-2017) was a Canadian born artist who relocated to NYC in the late 1970s. Recognized as the “Godfather of Public Art,” Habmleton emerged during the booming art market of the 1980s alongside Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Hambleton used the urban canvas to evoke public reaction and has thus been highly associated with graffiti art although he considered himself to be a conceptual artist who made art for both public and gallery spaces.