Charles Lutz (born 1982 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary conceptual artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from the Pratt Institute. Lutz's work deals with value structures and the idea of transference of values. He is most well known for his works that explore the ideas of originality and authenticity within the world of Contemporary Art. While working as an assistant to contemporary artist Jeff Koons for a short time, Lutz's 2007 Warhol Denied series gained him international attention calling into question the importance of originality or lack-there-of in the work of Andy Warhol. The authentication/denial process of the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board was used to create value by submitting recreations of Warhol works for judgement with the full intention for the works to be formally marked "DENIED". The final product of the conceptual project being "officially denied" "Warhol" paintings authored by Lutz. Lutz's 2008 "Sold" series went on to comment on the current auction market's record breaking sales.
In July 2010, Lutz's critically acclaimed show "Charts, Price Lists, Corrections, and Other Relevant Statements" at the Brooklyn project space Five Myles dealt with ideas of consumption and ego through large scale paintings based on the auction sales price lists of Christie's and Sotheby's, as well as large scale photos based on both of the auction house's own promotional catalogs. In these works Lutz examines the auction houses' self-serving rhetoric highlighting the inflation of the Contemporary Art market prior to its subsequent collapse in 2008.
Lutz's exploration into values and transference continued in his 2013 show "Ends and Means", this time focusing on our collective abstraction of values looking at the trace of movement of currency and those facilitating such transactions. One of the most iconic paintings from the exhibition being a 12 ft tall monochrome red oil painting of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, other works consisted of constructed paintings created from used currency bank bags and re-transcriptions of robbery notes. The show was critically praised in the art publication Modern Painters and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Following the success of "Ends and Means", Lutz went on to do one of his largest public installations to date. At the 100th Anniversary of Marcel Duchamp's groundbreaking and controversial Armory Show in 2013, Lutz was asked by the curator of Armory Focus: USA and Director of The Andy Warhol Museum, Eric Shiner to create a site specific installation representing the US. The installation "Babel" (based on Pieter Bruegel's famous painting) consisted of 1500 cardboard replicas of Warhol's Brillo Box (Stockholm Type) stacked 20 ft tall in the formation of the Tower of Babel. All 1500 boxes were then given to the public freely, creating havoc in the Armory Show while also debasing the Brillo box as an art object by removing its value, in addition to debasing its willing consumers.
- Cripps, Charlotte, "Imitation of life: He almost duped Andy Warhol's estate. Now Charles Lutz is targeting the auctioneers", The Independent, September 2008.
- Howard, Christoper, "Charles Lutz: Five Myles", Art Forum, July 2010.
- Howard, Christopher, "Charles Lutz: Ends and Means", Modern Painters page 90, April 2013.
- Plagens, Peter, "Charles Lutz: Ends and Means", The Wall Street Journal A21, February 16–17, 2013.
- Rosenberg, Karen, Homages, Giddy Humor and Less Clutter The Armory Show at Piers 92 and 94, The New York Times, March 7, 2013.
- Straus, Michael, "CHARLES LUTZ “BABEL (Brillo Stockholm Type)”, The Brooklyn Rail, March 4th, 2013.