Visually exploiting the mass media.
POP ART Visually exploiting the mass media.
â€œIt was like a science fiction movie- you Pop artists in different parts of the city, unknown to each other, rising up out of the muck and staggering forward with your paintings in front of you.â€? Henry Geldzaler, Curator (Osterwold, 168)
CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER
The Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53 Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 708-9400
Spring 2012 February 1, 2012 - April 1, 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Curators Statement 1
CURATOR STATEMENT What is Pop Art?
A play on works, a lifestyle, a particular generation or a new understanding of art? Or maybe it’s the term for an influential cultural movement in the sixties? The answer is: all of the above. Pop Art describes a collective term for an artistic phenomenon in which the sense of being in this particular era had found its concrete expression (Osterwold, 6). “Pop” (derived from “popular”) is commonly associated with various superficial aspects of society. The aim of Pop Art was to portray the depersonalized mass media aspects of Pop in terms of a kind of subjective image of the artist, a tactic that had been highly common in the historical development of style (Osterwold, 168). Pop culture and lifestyle had begun to mesh together with Pop characterized by specific vibrations in which a new epoch was paving its way. It brings reality back into ideal images which veil the real state of the world. The media merely captures reality, as it embellishes and idealizes it, making it endurable and serviceable; the artist, on the other hand, theorizes, commands and turns advertising and design into their opposite. The increasing commercialization has saturated our social realities to reduced notions of values such as “the good,, the true and the beautiful” into inflationary husks. Pop Art was born in both New York and London, the time period’s art centers of the world. This new and exciting art form brought forth publicly accessible overlaps in a ubiquitous visible concurrence, between life and art, which no one had seen before. Pop art revealed the essential characteristics of the ways of living that are associated with the 1960’s and it analyses such lifestyles to create a visual blueprint of not only our societies achievements in the industry and fashion, but it exposes its absurdities by tracing the limits of a growing mass media society as its bursts at the seams. Unorthodox provocative behavior, shock tactics, breaking taboos and scoffing at prudery are all hallmarks of Pop Art and its counterculture (Osterwold, 6). Several factors contributed to this movement, one of which being the growing political and economical stability of post-war era the helped rekindle the appreciation for “the people” and/ or “the popular.” Also, the union of consumer and retail interests created a massive restructuring of the demand for consumer goods, as well as, mass media programs. The Cultural Revolution was anti-authoritarian education, women’s liberations, new career structures and a more open approach to sexuality. Suddenly there we pin-up girls and Playboy magazines and heart throbs like James Dean and Elvis Presley stepped out on the scene. These elements led to radical changes in viewing habits and behavior, bringing a new understanding of objects and art (Osterwold, 7).
Two Hundred Campbellâ€™s Soup Cans 1962 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas 72 x 100 Âź inches
ANDY WARHOL American August 6. 1928February 22, 1987 Andy Warhol, born Andy Warhola, is one of the most well-known and influential artists out there. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928. At an early age, Warhol was diagnosed with a rare psychological disorder in which he sought comfort in
WARHOL popular celebrity magazines and DC comic books, which would find a place in his artworks in later years. He graduated from Carnagie Institute of Technology (now Carnagie Mellon University) in 1949 with a degree in pictorial design (“Andy”). After graduating college, Warhol moved to New York, NY, which became his home and studio for the rest of his lifetime. Warhol found work in the big apple in no time. Within the first year of his residence, he was awarded the chances to work for a plethora of commercial clients including Columbia Records, Glamour magazine, NBC, Tiffany & Co.,Vogue and others. His curiosity resulted in experimental processes that led him to work with every available medium and allowed his art to become a globally recognized brand (“Andy”). Warhol, along with many other artists, so began the movement dubbed “Pop Art,” where artists used everyday consumer objects as subjects in their art. When asked what was the reasoning behind his world famous Campbell’s Soup Can painting, Warhol replied, “I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it.” Warhol’s working method combines action with reaction as he leaves boarders open between product and reproduction as well as between the depiction and the depicted. He believed that the appearance given to an object or event and the manner it is presented is what produces meanings. Through his work he seamlessly infiltrated the worlds of fashion, music, media and celebrities. Warhol not only wanted to turn the trivial and commonplace into art, but also to make art itself trivial and commonplace (Osterwold, 168). Why would Andy Warhol paint the same thing, over and over again? “Because I used to drink
it. I used to have lunch every day for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again. Someone said my life has dominated me; I like that idea. I used to want to live at the Waldorf Towers and have a soup and sandwich like that scene in the restaurant in Naked Lunch.” Warhol reveals on one hand, a serious preoccupation with everyday life that verges on the theoretical, and on the other an acute and ironic sense of humor. Warhol’s insist to resist any single interpretation shocked, annoyed and amused art critics. The hand-painted Two Hundred Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) displays the complete range of Campbell’s soup production on the time, in repetitive order, alluding to “over-all” painting strategies (few pictorial elements such as the French lilies on the bottom of the label are stamped). As the definitive icon of Warhol’s production, the image is also a model for an artistic program, formulating issues that endure in his work from his artistic beginnings in the early 1950’s through his sudden end (Gargosian, 81-83). During Warhol’s lifetime, he co-founded Interview Magazine; designed Grammy-winning record covers for The Rolling Stones; signed with a modeling agency; contributed short films to Saturday Night Live; and produced Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes and Andy Warhol’s TV, his own television programs for MTV and cable access. He developed a business in commissioned portraits, creating brilliantly colored paintings of politicians, entertainers, sports figures, heads of state and more (“Andy”).
ROY VAROOM! 1963 Oil and magna on canvas 57 x 57 inches
ROY LICHTENSTEIN American October 27, 1923Septermber 29, 1997 Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York, New York in 1923. He was an American painter and a founder of Pop Art that aimed to counter the techniques and concepts of Abstract Expressionism with images and techniques taken from popular culture. After serving in the military during World War II, Lichtenstein attended Ohio State University and went on to teach there as well as at New
York State University in Oswego, NY and at Douglass College of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ (“Roy”). In the beginnings of Lichtenstein’s career as an artist he studied and practiced many themes from the American West in a variety of modern art styles, even including Abstract expressionism- a style in which he later reacted against. His comic-strip cartoon style as an art theme began in 1960 after he painted Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck for his children. Initially, he was dissatisfied with his technique and uncomfortable with direct
appropriation, though he thoroughly enjoyed presenting well-known comic-strip figures in a fine art format. Lichtenstein then decided to increase his canvas size and continued to manipulate comic strips dealing with genres like romance, war and science fiction. Similar to the style of comic strips, Lichtenstein used words to express sound effects in his art (“Roy”).
Using thick black lines to outline areas of primary color, Lichtenstein developed a detached, mass-produced effect in his work. He reduces his medium to its most basic elements of expression, tightens their pictorial coherence and further simplifies the standardized production process of the cartoon drawings. Lichtenstein’s’ pictures aimed to de-individualize and objectivize emotions and gestures, giving his paintings the appearance of being produced mechanically. His approach is analytical, as he wants to show painting as it really is or can be: the art of transforming something real into a deliberately artificial and yet trivial language (Osterwold, 183). BANG! CABOOM! BAM! are the sounds of an explosion, but VAROOM! is the sound of acceleration, a whirring rocket or screaming engine, the sound that precedes or follows the blast. VAROOM! (1963) is a painting of an explosion that points to a disjunction between image and sound, speed and time. The word, followed by an explanation point, painted over the brightly colored explosion makes an odd verbal match to the piece. This is one of many in a series of war-comic paintings from 19621964. He depicts similar blasts in narrative contexts that motivate the words juxtaposed on the image. BRATATATA is the clattering sound of one rapid artillery fire blazing from the wing of a fighter plane. WHAAM! conveys the sound of the missile’s hurried flight and
In VAROOM! the source of the compact is absent. This specific word creates a more puzzling origin than BANG would have, leaving thought between the blast and the sound of it’s cause, or perhaps its effect. In this piece, as well as many others by Lichtenstein, the signature Benday dots (borrowed from comics and commercial printing) are present. The even blue field of dots and lack of horizon resemble may of the other war paintings and suggest that this painting, too, may frame a view in midair. The misaligned letters of the word appear to be impacted by the explosion behind. Strong red, black and blue lines run like spokes from the center and off the canvas, making the explosion appear to exceed the pictorial space. A jagged ring of fire that is filled with an amorphous white blob that can be seen as either a puff of white smoke of an expanding void at the center of the flame comes from the center of these radial marks. The thick black outline of the letters allows us to see how they overlap forming superimposed planes. This layering effect forces the image to project off the surface of the canvas rather that into an imaginary space behind it, an effect that is less noticeable in other Lichtenstein war paintings (Gagosian, 125-127). Lichtenstein became the first American to exhibit at London’s Tate Gallery in 1996 after his first one-man show held in New York City was a great commercial success and his innovative work had found an international audience. Lichtenstein continued to make Pop art for much of his career making easily identifiable work with their comic-strip characteristics that created clever and thoughtprovoking mediations on art and popular culture (“Roy”).
Just what makes todayâ€™s homes so different, so appealing? 1956 Collage 10.5 x 10 inches
RICHARD HAMILTON English February 24, 1922September 13, 2011
Richard Hamilton was born in London in 1922. He attended evening art classes as a teenager and went on to study painting at Royal Academy School. Hamilton worked as an industrial designer and later returned to the Royal Academy School, but was expelled due
HAMILTON to defiance of his teachers’ instructions. He then went on to study at the Slade School of Art in London were his study of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses formed his understanding of imagery (Massey). Hamilton was a founder and member of the Independent Group in 1952, where artists, academics and architects held lectures, discussions and interdisciplinary exhibitions on arts, mass media, culture and progress. This group turned out to be exceptional members in the development of English Pop Art (Osterwold, 212). Richard Hamilton portrays extremely stylized interiors with human figures that hide their identities behind a ‘waxwork’ exterior image to match the style of their surroundings. Formal qualities such as romanticism, practicality and taste are linked with furniture and household accessories like televisions and telephones. These perfectly designed worlds reflect desire for stability and security. Hamilton’s picture collages provide distortions of perspective, alienation and surreal exaggeration to the point of deformation depicted in an ordered hidebound version of the world. He uses techniques reminiscent of poster montages and commercial design by combining trivial themes and subtle ideas to create an engagingly disconcerting effect. Hamilton’s abstractions and jumbled perspectives create the impression of movement within his works as objects appear to move freely and non-objectively between the mixture of abstraction and realism. His work can sometimes look similar to still life’s’ because of the way he specifically chooses to arrange objects and human figures with equal weight practicing a complete freedom of fracture (Osterwold, 211). Richard Hamilton’s programmatic collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so
different, so appealing? (1956) heralded a new and extraordinary representation of art and became emblematic of the 1950’s American consumer culture (Massey). This piece was created as his poster design for the exhibition “This is Tomorrow,” a show organized by the Independent Group in 1956 for the Whitechapel Gallery in London. This exhibit was intended to depict views into the future of mixed-media art, communications, the home, design and technology. With a title derived from advertising, this early example of Pop Art presents us with a depiction of typical social and gender role clichés. The identities of individuals and objects begin to blur together within the mosaic of the domestic environment depicted, becoming passive pieces within a jig-saw of technological progress. This collage appeals to both the intellect and the senses as it combines symbols with consumer images and progress with nostalgia which initially creates a chaotic and disturbing feeling. In later sketches Hamilton references back to this mosaic using individual pieces like the vacuum cleaner, telephone, gramophone and furniture (Osterwold, 212) Richard Hamilton continued to investigate imagery of popular culture and integrate it into his work throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. In 1968 he designed the cover of the Beatles’ White Album as well as the poster (Malley). Hamilton gives artificial gloss on objects in and an uncomfortable adornment on things that ‘stink” – excrement, garbage, litter- and illustrates the fragility and susceptibility of standardized images of “the good, the true and the beautiful.” We as humans are so enthralled by our world of illusions and manipulated living that we no longer notice the extent of our own pollution (Osterwold, 215).
ROBERT Broadcast 1959 Combine painting: oil, pencil, fabric, newspaper, printedpaper, printed reproduction and plastic comb on canvas with three concealed radios 61 x 75 x 5 inches
ROBERT ROUSCHENBERG American October 22, 1925May 12, 2008
to study art at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Academie Julian in Paris, Black Mountain College in North Carolina and at the Art Students League in New York (Rauschenberg).
Robert Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925. He briefly attended University of Texas with a concentration in pharmacology followed by serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He went on
Rauschenberg was the only American artist of his generation that can be said to have combined the extremes of artistic influence in his work from tradition painting to the universality of modern means of expression.
ROUSCHENBERG Rauschenberg’s collages and assemblages of the late 1950’s seemed to give the initial boost for the development of Pop Art. His intentions in the art he was creating was to confront the trivial, mechanical reproductions of the media industry by exercising the polarity of the objective and subjective, the personal in dialogue with the general and the functional and preformed in combination with the creative. By depersonalizing components of the painting process, which are excessive and dependent upon his mood, he was able to create a force to counter the unpredictable elements in a sequence of movements. In 1966 Rauschenberg co-founded the “Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), an organization that helps bring together creative artists with technical and industrial engineers. This was brought forth by both Rauschenberg’s artistic talents with is intellectual, scientific interests. Rauschenberg later practiced solventtransfer techniques in which he would use glossy photographs to make drawings. He combined this technique with his drawings and watercolors when he produced his legendary series based on the 34 cantos of Dante’s Inferno. Spending over two and a half years on this project, Rauschenberg learned to incorporate images from contemporary culture to his work (Rauschenberg). Rauschenberg’s combine Broadcast (1959) is a piece that operates in “the gap between art and life,” between the “pure art” of painters like Bill de Kooning and the “real world” to which both artists found their subject matter. Broadcast is a Chaplinesque train wreck of angst, historical teleology and ‘formal’ values. It is hard to imagine a more self-conscious work of art, especially since this one comes with an “in-house” aural commentary in the form of three radios attached to the back of the stretcher. The speakers are counted
behind the canvas with two knobs on the fact of the painting to control all three radios. The use of the radios emits the “real world” in all its multi-brand complexity, directly into the artwork. This piece creates a peculiar “doubletime” due to the existence of the work itself, which is obviously a product of the 1950’s, yet it broadcasts the latest news of the day. If you were to look at the back of the painting you could see the careful attention take to the mounting of the radios, the deployment of the speakers and the gearing arrangement that allows the knobs to collectively control all three radios. This ingenuity is equally visible on the front canvas, where Rauschenberg’s apparently spontaneous painterly gestures are explicitly emphasized by the placement of a broken comb on the center of the canvas right above a passage of combed paint. Broadcast is made up of an arrangement of black and white paint accented by spots of red, yellow and green. It is modulated by an array of mid-toned collaged elements of grids, newspapers, signage and fabrics (Gagosian, 30-32). Since Robert Rauschenberg began creating artworks, he has travel the world to exhibit his work. He as received many awards and honors and founded many organizations including Change Inc., a non-profit organization that provides emergency funds for artists, and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, also a non-profit entity, that is devoted to projects that increase public awareness about subjects of vital interest to the artists. To this day, Rauschenberg continues to create original art works and has even created a series of prints/posters to benefit the people of Tibet through an organization called Future Generations (Rauschenberg).
Giant Soft Drum Set 1967 Vinyl and canvas filled with expanded polystyrene chips, metal and painted wood parts and wood-and-formica base with metal railing 48 x 72 x 84 inches
CLAES OLDENBERG English January 19, 1929 Claes Oldenburg was born in 1929 in Stockholm. In 1936 his family settled in Chicago, IL and Oldenburg went on to study literature and art history at Yale University and furthered his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1956 he moved to New York where he met artists such as George Brecht, Allen Kaprow, George Segal and Robert Whitman, who were all making
OLDENBERG early performance art. Oldenburg soon began a prominent figure in Happenings and Performance art (“Claes”). Oldenburg’s highly individual figurations have made him one of the leading protagonists in Pop Art. With sculptures influenced by Surrealist and Dadaist traditions, he takes typical Pop subjects and translates them into his own unmistakable artistic language. His sculptures are often set in public areas in towns or in landscapes where the take on the appearance of architecture. He creates rough drafts, sketches and technical drawings to outline the sculptures architectonic structures and their special effect. With the Pop Art theme, Oldenburg bases his sculptures on every day objects, though modifying their function and meaning by giving the structures colossal dimensions. He also making them out of different materials so that hard becomes soft and soft becomes hard as well as giving them new color schemes. Oldenburg makes “symbols of my time” out of commodity articles, furniture, luxury goods and media clichés. To Oldenburg, making something means to transform ‘symbols’, giving them back to society in the form of new and challenging obstacles. It means erecting architectural devices which act as question marks and point to exhaustion, decadence and cynicism in society (Osterwold, 193). “The artist is a machine, yes, but a human machine most sensitive, his profession is balance and he reacts to his surroundings by affirming what is missing. In Hard times he becomes soft, in soft times be becomes hard,” says Oldenburg. The end result of most of Oldenburg’s work can be characterized as looking like “objects impregnated with humanity.” Objects are tailored for human requirements in their designs, functions and purposes and so
they reflect human features, psychologically, sociologically and culturally (Osterwold, 194). Oldenburg committed himself to physical effects, to reading the urban environment as a series of conscious and subconscious constructions. This has often been referenced to the exaggerated objects that Oldenburg began creating as his ‘anti-monuments’ toward the end of the 1960’s. “My pieces begin with the word and develop with the word because the word is the most concentrated way of suggestion,” says Oldenburg. His art called attention to the relationship between things and their presentation in the culture as a whole. He uses two strategies to distort his objects, manually by sullying it or softening it and perceptually by exaggerating the scale. Giant Soft Drum Set (1957) is the image of the human body and is both sexes, a bisexual subject. The pedal is a masculine appendage, the cymbals are the breasts and the bass is the womb. The sculpture radiates a sense of carnage with its absurdly loving care in craft. The dull cold metal contrasts against the provocative slick vinyl and the sensitive velvety canvas is heightened by the anthropomorphic juxtaposition of blood red to buff. Oldenburg has said of Giant Soft Drum Set that “the last act of softening the thing is a death blow to its functionality and classicism.” Possibly, the drum set is between sets, a performance is always over but also always waiting to happen (Gagosian, 107-110). Over the past three decades, Oldenburg’s works have been the subject of numerous performances and exhibitions. In performances like Il Corso del Coltello, his piece Knife Ship I, a giant Swiss army knife equipped with oars, was set afloat in front of an Arsenal, Oldenburg successfully combined art, architecture and theatre (“Claes”).
Great American Nude #50 1963 Mixed media, collage and assemblage (including working radio) on board 48 x 36 x 3 inches
TOM WESSLEMAN American February 23, 1923December 17, 2004
Tom Wesselmann was born in in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1931. He studied at the Hiram College in Ohio and went on to study psychology at Cincinnati University. In 1952 he was drafted into the U.S. Army spending his service years stateside. While in the army,
WESSLEMAN Wesselmann drew his first cartoon and found an interest in pursuing a career cartooning. After discharging the military, he finished his psychology degree and began to study drawing at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He then moved to New York to attend Cooper Union. By the end of the late 1950’s he created a series of collages in small format that were seen to be precursors to the later series Great American Nudes and Still Life in big format (“Tom”). Tom Wesselmann’s choice of trivial motifs and their commemoration, his reduction of stereotypes and sexual representations, as well as the use of bright colors made him a co-founder of Pop Art (Gagosian, 64). Great American Nude #50 (1963) is of a typical Pop Art genre scene, a private interior, except that this home has been turned inside out. Depicted with loud factory colors and invaded by bustling commerce and made into a trading floor for stockpiling and delectation of goods and information. This piece could be characterized as a traditional still life, though what you are viewing is more the polymorphous signs of pleasure than pleasure itself. In Great American Nude #50, Wesslemann has not only flowers that resemble Renoir, but a Renoir painting in the background. Also, there is a solid apple on the right that represents the iconic apple-pie of Americanism in contrast to the Cezanne apples on the left which represents “art.” This piece also makes a statement towards “the cultured American.” Art critic Clement Greenberg said, “The cultured American has now become more knowing than cultivatedhis or her worldliness is signified as much but a French painting as it is by Canada Dry soft drinks.” In this picture, Wesslemann contrasts a French painting with a Canada Dry bottle and a cigarette ad to serious literature to
represent just what Greenberg was saying. Also contrasting is Wesselmann’s depiction of a woman compared to Renoirs. The woman present in Wesslemann’s picture is wearing a large open mouthed smile and appears to be enjoying herself. Her gaze is bypassing our gaze and fixed on some object just over our heads. Both women are roughly the same age, each with their head resting upon their hand and both holding reading material. Finally, there is the radio, which works, intervening in the seemingly closed circuit maintained by the two women. The radio is the same pink color as the frame around the Renoir painting (pink to target female consumers). Also relative between the radio and the Renoir painting is that the title of this Renoir painting happens to beat the Concert. Within this image, we are looking at a “nude,” a portrait, a still life, a domestic genre scene, a hardedge composition and a commodity landscape- all in one. This painting is a modern day history painting (Gagosian, 65-70). In later years, Wesselmann continued to explore ideas and medias. In 1980 Wesslemann, using the pseudonym Slim Stealingworth, wrote an autobiography documenting the evolution of his artistic work. He continued exploring shaped canvases and began creating works in metal. In his final years, he returned to the female form in his Sunset Nudes series of oil paintings on canvas, whose bold compositions, abstract imagery and sanguine moods often recall the works of the great Henri Matisse (“Tom”).
JAMES Lanai 1964 Oil on canvas Each panel: 62 x 62 Overall: 62 x 186 inches
JAMES ROSENQUEST American November 29, 1933 James Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1933. Residing in the Great Plains, Rosenquist was inspired by the cast distances of the plains, with their deep perspectives and long, unbroken horizon. At the age of nine, his family moved to Minneapolis where he won a scholarship to
the Minneapolis School of Art, he then began considering a career as an artist, not knowing exactly where that would lead him. He studied art and the history of Western painting at University of Minnesota and then at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the summers, Rosenquist worked painted commercial signs on water tanks and grain elevators throughout the Upper Midwest, where he would juxtapose odd advertising images and logos with the changing landscapes of rural America in the early 1950â€™s.
ROSENQUEST In 1955 Rosenquist was awarded a scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York City, the center of an international art scene dominated by the school of abstract impressionism. From his many influences, he began to form the ambition to make a unique and personal statement in art. In 1960 he produced the first of a series of major works that worked with the imagery of advertising art in a fragmented and provocative way that inevitably raised questions about America’s consumer culture (Lobel 9-12). Rosenquist’s work drew on interests of a number of notable collectors and so helped him to make a nape for himself and was able to move to a larger studio in the neighborhood now known as SoHo. Here, he began experimenting with incorporating found materials, such as barbed wire. Plastic and even an automated conveyor belt, into his extravagant constructions. His work gained national attention after the architect Phillip Johnson commissioned him to create a 20x20 feet mural for the New York State Pavilion in 1964 (Lobel, 13). Using primary colors- bright yellow, vibrant blue and acrid magenta, he creates a painting that represents Lanai, a Hawaiian island and home of the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Rosenquist painted Lanai in 1964 during a very busy time when he was working non-stop and exhibiting at sold out shows. He began painting Lanai in the months following John F. Kennedy’s assassination and finished it by the November election. Both John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the election of Lyndon B. Johnson as president were significant moments to a tempestuous decade, and though Lanai is not a political picture- it’s bright glaring color pallet reflected the cool and noisy atmosphere of America in the 1960’s. Lanai is a medley of desperate images and unlikely juxtapositions
each with its own separate vantage point. The peaches, being spooned out of the bottom of an upside down car, are shown close up with an odd starburst pattern screened over it. The upside down car is a Buick that appears to be flying uncontrollably across the canvas. There is a ghostly aura cast on the monochromatic nude who is sitting profile nearside a pool as she smokes marijuana. Her head has been cut off as she leans forward to pass the joint to someone outside if the pictures limits. Lastly depicted is a large broken pencil that is surreally floating on the canvas. This painting has no logical beginning, middle or end. The action occurs almost simultaneously and the effect is one of a raucous silence. As a clue to his intentions, Rosenquest says “I choose images old enough to pass without notice, but not old enough to trigger nostalgia… images that are like no images” (Gagosian, 75-76). Rosenquist remains the least understood and yet possibly the most ambitious of the Pop Artists. His art was not witty, cynical, overly graphic or specifically topical like that of the other Pop Artists. He painted not so much with the intention of making a statement about consumer culture but rather because such images were empty, free of affect and void of meaning. Rosenquist cropped and enlarged realistic images to reinforce objects abstract nature and ensure a sense of mystery. Using images as tools, he was able to create a visual language all of his own (Gagosian, 76). Six decades form his initial beginnings in art, Rosenquist still flourished in a productive and influential career (“James”).
A Bigger Splash 1967 Acrylic on canvas 97 x 98 inches
two other depictions of splashes in swimming pools, one of which being named Little Splash.
DAVID HOCKNEY English July 9, 1927-
David Hockney was born in Bradford, England in 1937. He is a painter, draftsman, printmaker, photographer and stage designer with works that are characterized by economy of technique, a preoccupation with light, and a frank mundane realism derived from Pop Art and photography. He studied at the Bradford College of Art as well as the Royal College of Art, where he was awarded a gold medal in the graduate competition (“David”). Much of Hockney’s work contains autobiographical subject matter, like portraits, self-portraits and quiet scenes of his friends and his quarters in which his own interests and values were given full prominence (“David”). He intertwines ornamental details of light and atmosphere, physiognomy, bodily expression, materials and fabrics into a lattice of imagery where he can then project different states of mind. Inspired by objects and situations, he turns them each into a vital independent existence. The balance within his pictures allows room for a sense of naivety, playfulness and wit to coincide with melancholy, boredom and longing. Hockney believes that all objects and formal qualities within an image should be given equal weights, whether the design of a chair, a human face, the curtains, the pattern on the carpet or less definable symbolic elements. A Bigger Splash is one of Hockney’s most popular paintings. This image depicts the bon vibrant lifestyle that so many aspire towards in contemporary mass-culture. Previous to this painting, Hockney had already created
The strident yellow, pink and puce colors of the diving board, patio and wall contrast vibrantly against the cool blues of water and sky and thus creating a sense of calefaction. Also contributing to this sense of heat is the drastic white of the splash that is centered in the middle of the very flat cool blue body of water. The flatness of the image reinforces the viewers understanding that they are looking at a fictive space within the canvas, rather than a real one. In the distance stands a lonely chair resembling that of a director’s chair that would be located on a Hollywood movie set. The existence of this chair of implied importance makes viewers assume that the individual who has apparently just dove into the water, is a person of some significance. This piece shows an obvious influence of Vermeer through Hockney’s frequent use of parallel lines. The diagonal lines of the diving board, along with the ambiguous shape of the splash, contrast seamlessly with the rigid parallel lines.Viewers can assume that the swimmer is tremendously refreshed after diving into the cool blue pool when surrounded by such a warm environment (Shanes, 163). Throughout later years Hockney taught at various Universities in the United States and would commute between the U.S. and England, until he permanently settled in Las Angeles in 1978. In the nineties, Hockney continued experiment with rising technologies, using a color laser copier in some of his works and reproduced some of his paintings. Hockney was impressed with the vibrant colors that could be achieved using these devices (“David”).
American Flag on Orange Field II 1958 Encaustic on canvas 37 x 15 inches
JOHNS JASPER JOHNS American May 15, 1930Jasper Johns was born in Georgia in 1930. He was an American printmaker, painter and sculptor. “In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art, so I really didn’t know what that meant,” recounts Johns. “I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different from the one that I was in” (“Johns”). He built his career in New York City where he took classes in commercial art after attending the University of South Carolina (Shanes, 77). He laid the groundwork for both Pop Art and Minimalism. Johns began a career in commercial art, producing displays for New York City shop windows. His work most often depicted commonplace emblems like flags, targets, maps, letters of the alphabet and numbers. Through the use of paint handling and manipulation of the surface texture he was able to raise such objects to the level of icons (“Johns”). Given the ostensible subject of his Flag paintings, Johns could hardly avoid the patriotic cultural associations of the Stars and Stripes. However, he divorced the banner from what it symbolizes by representing the flag in a completely objective way as his work simply consists of an arrangement of shapes and colors on a flat surface. In Flag on Orange Field II, the isolation of the flag within the composition makes it look somewhat indistinct and emotionally neutral. The apparent animation of this painting parallels the surface dynamism of Abstract Expressionist pictures with which Johns openly welcomed the difference between means and ends.
Naturally, portrayals of the American flag and banner waiving had been highly typical at the height of the Cold War in 1954 when Johns began the Flag series. At the time, Soviet Russia had recently acquired the atomic bomb, Red China had shown its true expansionist colors by intervening in the Korean War and Senator McCarthy and his political henchmen were engaging in a communists witch hunt. By painting America’s national flag, Johns was therefore apparently affirming his American identity, though in contrast, by treating it merely as a colored and formally-varied shapehe made clear his lack of ethnocentricity. In other paintings of the series he occasionally made the flag difficult [or possibly impossible] to see, sometimes by painting it in silver or white-on-white and occasionally by radically altering its colors and proportions. All of his interventions and changes served to stress the freedom of the artist and to make clear that nothing is visually sacred, not even the most hallowed of American icons (Shanes, 77). Over the past fifty years Johns has created a plethora of complex works. His rigorous attention to themes of popular imagery and abstraction has set high standards for American art as he challenged the technical possibilities of printmaking, painting and sculpting. Today, Johns prints and paintings set record prices at auctions and the meanings of his paintings and changing style continue to raise controversy (“Johns”).
Real Gold 1949 Collage on paper 11 x 16 inches
PAOLOZZI EDUARDO PAOLOZZI Scottish March 17. 1924April 22, 2005 Eduardo Paolozzi is a Scottish sculptor and printmaker, born in 1924 in Edinburgh, Scotland. From a young age, Paolozzi thought like an artist, creating scrapbooks full of images culled from comic books and magazines. He went on to study at Edinburgh College of Art as well as at the Slade School of Art in London. His early works show influence by Dada and Surrealist art in Paris, but later works made of bronze and steel resemble stylized robotic figures (“Eduardo”). Though Paolozzi was primarily a sculpture, his prints and works on paper always formed an integral part in his output. In Paris in 1947 he began creating a series of ten collages using images taken from magazines that had been given to him by American ex-servicemen who were also studying in the city. The series became known as ‘Bunk,’ being named after a statement by Henry Ford that “History is more or less bunk… we want to live in the present.” At the early 1952 inaugural meeting of the Young Group within the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (a circle that led to the creation of the Independent Group that following autumn), Paolozzi employed an epidiascope to project the Bunk series images on to a screen, as part of a talk he gave on the possible iconography of the future (Shanes, 72). Real Gold (1949) is one of the most startling and prescient works in the Bunk series because of how greatly it anticipates the imagery of artists such as James Rosenquest, Tom
Wesselmann and Peter Phillips to comeby well over a decade. Given Paolozzi’s true artistic interests, the collage was doubtlessly intended to look surrealistic but it certainly projects the banal over glamorization of people and objects that is central to mass-culture (Shanes, 72). Paolozzi often showed his work in group and solo shows, including a major retrospective in 1971 at London’s Tate Gallery. The 1970’s and 1980’s were also a time when he created many works for public places. Related to his Pop Art roots was a mosaic he created in the 1970s for a London subway station (“Eduardo”). As Paolozzi’s career developed, he experimented in various mediums, including mosaics, textile design, silk-screen printing and experimental films. He also continued to create collages. In 1949 he returned to London where he taught at the Central School of Art and Design and St Martin’s School of Art. In 1952, Paolozzi was became one of the founding members of the Independent Group at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. After the 1960’s Paolozzi taught in Hamburg, Berkley, London, Berlin, Cologne ad Munich. He was elected into the Royal Academy in 1979 and was knighted in 1989 (“Eduardo”).
â€œCan any thinking person expect the visual arts of today to give us the opportunity of recognizing things that are no longer real, that we can no longer encounter around us, that mean nothing to us, as if that could deepen familiarity with our world? Nevertheless, as long as they do not simply represent an increasingly fragile sense of familiarity, modern painting and sculpture can create irreplaceable and substancial works.â€? Hans-Georg Gadamer, Philosopher (Gagosian)
BIBLIOGRAPHY “Andy Warhol Biography.” Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.warholfoundation.org/legacy/biography.html>. “Claes Oldenburg.” Guggenheim.org. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/show-full/bio/?artist_ name=Claes%20Oldenburg>. “David Hockney.” Bio. The True Story. A&E Television Networks LLC, 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.biography.com/people/david-hockney-9340738>. “Eduardo Paolozzi.” Biography.com. A&E Television Networks LLC, 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.biography.com/people/eduardo-paolozzi-9432904>. Gagosian Gallery. Pop Art: The John and Kimiko Powers Collection. New York: Gagosian Gallery, 2001. Print. “James Rosenquist.” Academy of Achievement. Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/ros0bio-1>. “Jasper Johns.” Bio. The True Story. A&E Television Networks LLC, 2011. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. <http://www.biography.com/people/jasper-johns-9355664>. Lobel, Michael. James Rosenquest Pop Art, Politics, and History in the 1960’s. Los Angeles: University of California, 2009. Print. Massey, Anne. “Richard Hamilton.” The Independent Group. Kingston University, London, 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.independentgroup.org.uk/contributors/hamilton/index.html>. Osterwald, Tilman. Pop Art. China: Taschen GmbH, 2011. Print. Rauschenberg, Robert. “Bob Rauschenberg.” Bob Rauschenberg Gallery. Edison State College, 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. <http://www.bobrauschenberggallery.com/rauschenberg_biography.htm>. “Roy Litchenstein Biography.” Bio. The True Story. A&E Television Networks LLC, 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.biography.com/people/roy-lichtenstein-9381678>. Shanes, Eric. The Pop Art Tradition. New York: Parkstone International, 2006. Print. “Tom Wesslemann.” Art Directory. Web. 12 Nov. 2011. <http://www.tom-wesselmann.com/>
POP ART Visually exploiting the mass media.
ÂŠ Deveraux Harrington Ficional Exhibition Catalogue written, designed and printed by Deveraux Harrington. Produced for University of South Floridaâ€™s Graphic Design Program Fall 2011.
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART 11 West 53 Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 708-9400
ÂŠ Deveraux Harrington
Spring 2012 February 1, 2012 - April 1, 2012
Exhibition Catalogue for a faux Pop Art exhibition 'held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York, NY. Created fall 2011 for Typograph...
Published on Dec 6, 2011
Exhibition Catalogue for a faux Pop Art exhibition 'held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York, NY. Created fall 2011 for Typograph...