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Rick Magnuson

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Birth year

Lives in

Works in


photography, exhibition/performance, conceptual, performance, installation, stairway to heaven, holy bible


Rick Magnuson has been making artwork that engage the intersection of politics, religion, law, immigration, beauty, and complicity.  His work is conceptual, inter-disciplinary and is comprised of installation, sculpture, performance, text, photography and video.  Since 1998 Magnuson has been exploring the relationship between life and art, attempting to blur the boundaries. 

Sh aim is Magnuson's newest work.  In April 2013, he purchased a Bushmaster Carbon AR-15.  This gun was capable of firing .223 or NATO 5.56 rounds until Magnuson bent the barrel using heat, muscle, a vise and a very large pipe wrench.  

Hole (2005) is a work of performance art in which Magnuson went to the Mojave desert on his 40th birthday.  He dug a very large hole (until water was struck), spread his seed in the hole and filled in the hole.  

Stairway to Heaven (2011) is a work about religion in which Magnuson rewrote the Bible.  He replaced every name with a modern celebrity or politician (Ronald Reagan is God, Leonardo DiCaprio is Jesus Christ, etc.) and every location with a modern equivalent; the setting is modern day Los Angeles.  The remainder of the book is essentially true to its original text.  A lyric from every Led Zeppelin song is imbedded at random throughout the text.  



Rick Magnuson | 10 East Waterplace | Aspen, CO | 81611

970-618-1337 | | 


Curriculum Vitae:

Rick Magnuson

Born 1965



University of Connecticut, Storrs (B. A. Economics, 1989)



Group Exhibitions and Project History, select:


            2008  Imaginary ThingsCurated by Peter Ely (Walker Art Center), Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO.  Chinese soil exhibited.


2004  Inport    International Video-  performance festival (Mexploitation video exhibited) Tallinn , Estonia


            2004  Show for Belmar Award—curated by Adam Lerner, (Dear Osama exhibited) The Lab at Belmar, Lakewood, CO


2003    Multinatural—curated by Carrie Paterson, (rolling stones exhibited) West Hollywood, CA


2002     Voyeurism- Aspen Art Museum (solo-1 night exhibition) curated by Dean Sobel, Aspen, CO


2002    Aspen Valley Biennial- curated by Dean Sobel, (exhibited Swim-a 7 minute film looped for 24 hours on Grassroots TV) Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO


2001    Insider Trading: Profit without Honor, curated by Lisa Prior- Mandeville Hotel, London, UK


2000    Aspen Valley Biennial-  curated by Dean Sobel, (exhibited SPAM, Crayola and Campbell’s Soup barcodes) Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO





2005- 2008      Hole-  Mojave Desert, CA.  Shown on Grassroots TV, Aspen, CO

2006                The Camera Lies-   Aspen Filmfest- Aspen, CO

2004                Blowjob-    Aspen Filmfest-  Aspen, CO

2002- 2004      Swim-  Aspen Roundabout.  Shown on Grassroots TV, Aspen, CO




2004    Belmar Award for Achievements in Art- Lakewood, CO

2003    FBI number generated resulting from “Dear Osama” (later exhibited at the             Belmar Award exhibition).




2006  Sheriff- Blurring the lines between art and politics, Pitkin County, CO

2005  Work-Wintersculpt, Aspen, CO; curated by Anderson Ranch committee

2004  Baldwin Gallery- Aspen, CO

2004  $10; Ross Avenue detention- Dallas TX          

2003  Santa Claus #2-  (clothes-pinning money to trees on Christmas morning) various parks in Aspen, CO

2003  Mexploitation- Intersection of Mill, Main St.  Aspen, CO

2002  Voyeurism- Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO

2002  Blowjob- National Forest, Snowmass, CO      

2002  Swim- Roundabout in Aspen, CO

2002  Santa Claus #1- (clothes-pinning $2,000 to trees on Christmas morning) various parks in Aspen, CO


Bibliography, select:



Condon, Scott.  “Is it Politics or is it art?” Aspen Times (April 19, 2006).

Crosson, Judith.  “In Offbeat Aspen, Even the Sheriff’s race has quirks,” Washington Post (October 17, 2006).

Havlen, Naomi.  “Artist see project in most Roundabout way,” Aspen Times (June 21, 2002).

Havlen, Naomi.  “Guerilla Artfare,” Aspen Times (July 08, 2004).

Stonington, Joel.  “Art Video Stirs up Race for Sheriff,” Aspen Times (October  14, 2006).

Staff Report.  “Cop’s Conceptual Artwork is a Steal,” ABC, (November 23, 2001).

Stiny, Andrew.  “Prankster Cashes in on Artist Idea,” Aspen Daily News,  (November 22, 2001).









Recent Exhibits

Rick Magnuson participated in these exhibits:

Jul, 2008 Imaginary Thing
Aspen Art Museum
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