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.
On This Date in 1984: The Smiths released their fourth single, “What Difference Does It Make?” with a B-side of “Back To The Old House.” This song was my first introduction to The Smiths, a band that immediately became my over-the-top favorite band at the time. I was lucky to see The Smiths in concert probably three times (memory a bit fuzzy) and I still try to see Morrissey perform whenever he passes through NYC with his band. The Smiths’ music will always be very heartfelt to me. A bit of trivia about the photo sleeve (above) for this single: the original featured a still of actor Terence Stamp from the film The Collector. Later, when The Smiths were forced to change the photo due to a permission issue, they recreated the shot with Morrissey standing in for Stamp. In the recreation, Morrissey is holding a glass of milk, as opposed to a chloroform pad that Stamp holds in the original. Eventually, Terence Stamp allowed the photo of him to be used. The covers featuring Morrissey are now a very rare collectors item!