In The Seasons (1957), Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984) combined a traditional subject with modern, pictorial form, the all-over composition. Historically, the subject of the four seasons has offered artists the opportunity for allegorical mediations on the life cycle. Krasner’s version exemplifies the regenerative portion of that cycle, with boldly, almost garishly colored plant forms that seem to morph into sexual organs.
This monumental painting offered Krasner an outlet during a time of deep personal sorrow. The year before, her husband, and fellow artist Jackson Pollock, had died in a car accident. In the wake of the sudden loss, Krasner remarked about The seasons, “the question came up whether one would continue painting at all, and I guess this was my answer.”
Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.
Of all the modern artists about whom people who “don’t get” art might look at their work and say, “Oh, my kid could paint that,” American Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock is likely close to the top of that list. Above, you will see the oil on canvas work, Shimmering Substance (1946) which is occasionally on view at the Museum of Modern Art as part of its Permanent Collection. To me, the colors, textures and movement of this painting are just breathtaking.
While Pollock’s distinctive Splatter and Drip paintings may appear to be impulsive and random, they in fact full of intention and purpose. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety and was a major artist of his generation. However, he had a volatile personality, was not the greatest husband (Pollock was married the far superior artist Lee Krasner) and struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. Jackson Pollock died in 1956 at the age of 44 in an alcohol-related, single-car accident in which he was driving. For anyone who seeks to understated the life and art of Jackson Pollock, I highly recommend the Academy Award-winning film Pollock (2000) directed by and starring Ed Harris.
Installation view of James Rosenquist’s F-111 (1964-65) at The Museum of Modern Art, 2012. Oil on canvas with aluminum, 23 sections, All Photos by Jonathan Muzikar (Image Source)
Pop artist James Rosenquist has been one of my favorite living contemporary artists since I was first turned on to his work back when I was in college. I was so excited today to see a full installation of his multi-panel painting entitled F-111. This large scale work, which takes up four walls of a special gallery at NYC’s MOMA, features Rosenquist’s signature style of compiling collages of pop culture images (many taken from magazine ads and photos from the ’60s) and reproducing them on canvas in his pop modernist style.This painting is so gorgeous! The exhibit also contains many framed studies the Rosenquist did in preparation for this executing this impressive work.
According to MOMA’s Press Release on the exhibit, F-111 is presented here as it was first exhibited at the Castelli Gallery in 1965. Rosenquist was well acquainted with painting on this immense scale: before becoming an artist he had earned a living as a billboard painter in New York City. Interested in the phenomenon of peripheral vision, Rosenquist wanted the painting to create an immersive environment that would heighten the viewer’s awareness of his or her own position in space. He cited artistic precedents for this ambition in works such as Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and the large horizontal paintings by Abstract Expressionist artists Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman.
The collaged subjects on F-111 include canned spaghetti, a swimmer, a mushroom cloud under a beach umbrella, light bulbs, a piece of cake, a Firestone tire and a little girl under a salon hairdryer, all set against the body of an F-111 fighter jet: very fun and visually stimulating but also thought provoking.
James Rosenquist’s F-111 will be on Exhibit on the 4th Floor of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, Located a 11 West 53rd Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenues, through July 30, 2012.