WES LANG

Wes Lang

Over the last several decades, artist Wes Lang has been honing his craft involving, amongst other things, a tireless, obsessive mining of a post-pop American landscape.

Many of the artist’s influences are a function of a distinct autobiographical experience with certain exceptions; the indigenous American as well as other totems of the American West, and painters and sculptors from middle of last century such as Twombly, Guston, Kline, Mitchell, Bacon dove-tailing on up to the more contemporary such as Basquiat, Kippenberger, and Mike Kelley.

To date, Lang has made his mark primarily on canvas and paper – though his practice extends to include cast bronze sculpture, collage, hotel stationery, fabric, glass and precious metals – and is known for creating bombastic mélanges often brimming with elegantly rendered, still rough-around-the-edges imagery of grim reapers, Indian chiefs, fallen country music icons, sultry seductresses, long lost folk legends, dead authors, roses and other flora, birds, horses, all of which jockey for prominence within compositions sewn together and resolved by cryptic scrawls with a bittersweet vernacular.

An autodidactic painter who learned through art handling at the Guggenheim Museum and an apprenticeship in a tattoo shop, Lang rose to pop culture prominence following his artistic contributions to the musical platform of Kanye West in 2013 and his regular exhibitions at ZieherSmith gallery in New York.

His first monograph, which contains an essay by author James Frey, focuses on his works on paper – complicated arrangements of his typically American iconography, expertly rendered in ink and paint and juxtaposed in riotous combinations, selected from a decade’s worth of material.

Lang currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

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"His paintings, which are dense with weirdly cheerful shreds of song lyrics or repurposed lines from the Tao, tend to be a literal record of his life, or what he'd like his life to be: what he's listening to, what he's thinking about, what he's trying to remember."

- GQ Magazine
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Sittin' On a Rainbow, Chateau Marmont
Sittin' On a Rainbow, Chateau Marmont
Sittin' On a Rainbow, Chateau Marmont
Sittin' On a Rainbow, Chateau Marmont

“I like to take American history and then completely ignore it. I come at it visually, taking images and telling my own story. It comes out of criticism and great love. There are problems with America, and we all know that, but I'm attracted to the dark side of things.”

- Wes Lang
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COLLABORATIONS

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Sittin' On A Rainboww
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Sittin' On A Rainboww

“The base of it all is American history, but it’s also self-reflective: sometimes, the skeletons and the reapers are me. The women are just plain beautiful to draw.”

- Wes Lang
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Sittin' On A Rainboww
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Sittin' On A Rainboww
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Sittin' On A Rainboww
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Sittin' On A Rainboww
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Yeezus Tour Merchandise
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Yeezus Tour Merchandise
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Yeezus Tour Merchandise
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Yeezus Tour Merchandise
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Wyoming Merchandise Capsule
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Wyoming Merchandise Capsule

"If anything has been as talked about with regards to the Yeezus tour as much as the religion-heavy imagery, it’s the Wes Lang-designed tees that have filled the merch booths."

- Hypebeast
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Wyoming Merchandise Capsule
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Wyoming Merchandise Capsule
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Frozen Yellow Skeleton long sleeve
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Frozen Yellow Wyoming long sleeve

"The standout from the drop is the Frozen Yellow Wyoming iteration, featuring 'Following the light, to live to fly, do by not doing' front and center, accounting for the tee that Kanye wore at his 'Ye' listening party in Jackson Hole, Wyoming."

- Highsnobiety
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The Great Frog x Wes Lang
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The Great Frog x Wes Lang
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The Indian Chief Ring
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The Indian Chief Ring
Bookmarc x Wes Lang
Bookmarc x Wes Lang
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Bamford x Wes Lang
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Bamford x Wes Lang

“Wes and I went through all the paintings he’d done and selected certain elements that stood out the most to him. Many of the pieces feature more subtle engravings – I love how he likes to keep certain things hidden.”

- George Bamford
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Bamford x Wes Lang
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Bamford x Wes Lang

“The Grateful Dead, for me, is America at its finest. Their tales of life and death, love and loss, brightness and darkness encompass the true story of this great country of ours. Sinners are redeemed, fortunes are found, the lives we all lead or wish we did.”

- Wes Lang

EXHIBITIONS

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Lake of Gold
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Bring Good Things
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To Tell The Truth
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Grand Gestures
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Taking Off For Other Dimensions
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Taking Off For Other Dimensions

“I'm drawn to darker imagery and I really like to play against that with texts that are very positive and try to teach you something about yourself. I read a lot of Buddhist texts and Ram Dass. I use a lot of Taoist thoughts, looking at the contradictions within us to being honest with people and finding a nice balance within you. Accepting that you’re both things. That is what my work is supposed to get out of you. The pictures are punches in your face, but the way I compose my work kind of forces viewers to walk around, to read it, and get involved with it.”

- Wes Lang
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The Believer
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The Believer
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The Believer
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The Believer
The Studio, ARoS Museum
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The Studio, ARoS Museum
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The Studio, ARoS Museum
The Studio, ARoS Museum
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The Studio, ARoS Museum
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The Studio, ARoS Museum
The Studio, ARoS Museum
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LECTURES

“I try to live life that has less challenge and more action towards positivity. I choose wisely what I’m going to get involved with.”

- Wes Lang

Wes Lang