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
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.
For More Art and Design News, Follow Us on Instagram at @WorleyGigDotCom!
The enormous sandwich and pack of cigarettes in Still Life Number 36 (1964) reflect Tom Wesselmann’s nonhierarchical approach to subject matter and technique. He believed that anything could be art, including the ordinary consumer items that fill our pockets and kitchen cabinets. In 1962, Wesselmann began a series of large-scale still lifes that incorporated fragments of discarded commercial billboards, which he initially scavenged from trash cans but later procured in new, pristine condition directly from advertising agencies. The larger-than-life proportions of the objects in Still Life Number 36 at first seem to celebrate the surfeit of commercial goods in America’s postwar consumer culture. Yet the layers of collage and painted areas bring together incongruent depictions of reality, creating tensions in the composition that Wesselmann described as “reverberation.
Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.
Wayne Thiebaud’s interest in investigating the properties of each medium lead him to create a series of works of the same subject using different techniques. In the pictured watercolor of Nine Jelly Apples (1964) he used a wide range of pink and purple hues to suggest the luminous surface of the confection. In the black ink version, he relied instead on the vivid dark and light contrast to emphasize shininess. In the pencil version, however, the exacting precision suggests the brittle surface of hardened sugar.
Photographed in The Morgan Library in NYC.
While living and working in Paris, from 1948 to 1954, Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015) developed an abstract vocabulary of line, form, and color and began is career-long investigation into how figure and ground are perceived in nonrepresentational painting. He became interested in the way that painting engages with the architectural space that it inhabits; rather than attempting to simulate three-dimensional perspective in a composition, he instead considered the wall to be a kind of ‘ground’ and the painting itself a figure on it.
In Orange Green (1964), made the following decade when he was back in New York, he established the figure-ground relationship on the canvas itself through the careful balance of two areas of color: the truncated orange egg-shape is the figure and the bright green color that surrounds it functions as its background.
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.