James Rosenquist (1933 – 2017) began his career as a commercial sign painter. Working for the Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation, he produced vibrant representations of consumer goods until committing to a career as an artist in 1960. Renting a studio in Coenties Slip on the waterfront of the Financial District, he began to make paintings that combined a well-known, slick advertising vocabulary with a wry ambivalence about the rampant consumerism he saw all around him. Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: James Rosenquist, Sightseeing
Tag Archives: 1962
Instagram Photo of The Week: Golden Harvest Rotary Dial Phone
If you’re a person of a certain generation, you may have grown up with one of these things (hint: it’s a telephone) mounted to the kitchen wall of your family home. Ah, the days of no privacy on the absolutely un-mobile phone (on which conversations could eventually be rendered somewhat more private with the addition of the very long handset extension chord)! If you enjoy art and nostalgia, I recommend the exhibit, New York 1962 – 1964 on now at the Jewish Museum. This very fun exhibit uses the museum’s influential role in the early 1960s New York art scene as a jumping-off point to examine how artists living and working in New York City responded to the events that marked this moment in time. The exhibit features two floors of fantastic art, design, and pop culture and runs through January 8th, 2023.
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Modern Art Monday Presents: Marisol, The Family
Made primarily of blocks of wood, Marisol’s sculptors combine painting and figurative drawing with found objects — such as the sneakers and door in The Family (1962). “In the beginning,” the artist explained, “I drew on a piece of wood because I was going to carve it, and then I noticed that I didn’t have to carve it, because it looked as if it was carved already.”
Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Marisol, The Family
Modern Art Monday Presents: Claes Oldenburg, Soft Calendar for The Month of August
Claes Oldenburg has consistently embraced contradiction to transform and animate everyday objects. In his art, hard becomes soft, miniscule becomes monumental and, as in Soft Calendar (1962), flat becomes three-dimensional. Oldenburg’s stuffed fabric sculptures originated in 1962 as props to his art events, or Happenings, and evolved into independent artworks. The giant numbers of Soft Calendar are sensuously rounded and pillow-like. Each Sunday is called out in brilliant red, while the remaining days of the week are coated in white enamel. Photographic documentation suggests that Soft Calendar was assembled by Oldenburg and is partner, Patty Mucha, at Green Gallery in 1962, in preparation for the opening of his solo exhibition.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Modern Art Monday Presents: Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player]
Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player], (1962); Record Player with Found Objects and Collage (All Photos by Gail)
When Robert Smithson died in a plane crash in 1973, his fame as an artist was based on his creation of monumental earthworks such as Spiral Jetty, or minimalist sculptures using both Mirrored and regular, plate Glass.
But the James Cohan Gallery (in their brand new space in Chinatown) just hosted its inaugural exhibit, Robert Smithson: Pop, which featured a collection of the artist’s work from the early 1960s — including fluorescent-colored pencil sketches of both male and female nudes, collages, and found object sculptures — all of which were completely unlike anything the average Smithson fan would have been familiar with. You can read more about the exhibit and see photos in this great article over at Hyperallergic.
I went to see Pop just few days before it closed and while I loved the exhibit, there was one piece that resonated particularly strongly with my aesthetic sensibilities. In the rear room of the gallery, along with a few drawings, there was a small portable Record Player inside a display vitrine. The box for the record player is covered in collaged pictures of men and women, tabloid headlines, and plastic trinkets and fake flowers.
Collage on Outside Lid of Record Player
Inside, the box has been filled with twigs and dried grass, which make a nest for a small, blue bird.
The turn table has been transformed into a hot pink pond, filled with tiny toys including neon swans, sail boats, and little plastic babies that float about on their backs across the pink surface. It is so cool and completely visually captivating; it’s hard to believe that Smithson’s early work of Pop Art is over 50 years old now! I never would have imagined, from the works of his that I already knew so well, that Robert Smithson had a body of work like this in his portfolio. I’m glad I was able to see and photograph it before the exhibit closed in mid-January.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Robert Smithson: Pop at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 291 Grand Street in Chinatown, NYC.