Tag Archive | James Rosenquist

Modern Art Monday Presents: James Rosenquist, Volunteer

James Rosenquist Volunteer
Photo By Gail

Excerpted from a Textual Analysis by Frank D’Antonio:

James Rosenquist’s Volunteer is dated 1964, but, according to Rosenquist, [it was] finished shortly before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

I think one of the coolest things about this painting is the use of fragmented symbols to depict the American life in the mid 20th century. The washing machine in the upper right speaks to a viewer as a symbol of American technological progress. The man in the business suit speaks as a symbol of how the American professional was dressing during this time. The ice cream speaks of American’s desire for “gustatory pleasure” (James Rosenquist. Volunteer. 1964. Art Institute of Chicago).

I like this painting because of how it can be interpreted in many different ways. My interpretation is that the artist is being cynical in this piece, depicting things that Americans were concerned with in the era of the mid 1960s. It is interesting to see how Rosenquist interpreted American culture at the time, symbolizing technological advancements, personal appearance, and personal pleasure being the main concerns of Americans at the time, concerns that are still on the top of the list amongst Americans.

The puzzle pieces with a piece missing are also an important aspect of the work. I found no insight into why they exist on the work, so I formed my own opinions. I believe that the missing puzzle piece is the artist separating himself from the mold of American culture he illustrates in this piece. He wants to break the mold as an artist and not fit in to the stereotype that he has depicted in Volunteer.

Many of Rosenquist’s other works have an underlying cynical message to them. Some depicted war machines, most often airplanes, representing his dislike for the war and global tension happening at that time. From my research, the most cynical and interesting part of the picture is Rosenquist’s image of his own palm which stands out past all of the other images. According the Rosenquist, the palm cynically represents “the hand that volunteers”. I see this being cynical, but at the same time pretty spot on. In my opinion, the artist volunteers his time to all who will view his work and will use it to interpret messages about their life and what they view important in it.

Rosenquist is telling us that modern technology, flashy self appearance, and delicious self indulgence are not bad things in and of themselves, but when put upon a pedestal and made the most important things in our lives, we lose grasp on the true meaning of life. We need to separate ourselves from the mold of society, the mold that tells us that bigger is better, only the good looking make it in life, etc, etc. We need to start living as human beings who help each other no matter what.

Volunteer By James Rosenquist is a very interesting piece of modern art, one that challenges us to use the painting as a mirror, and reflect upon ourselves when we look at it. Seeing how we fit the mold he has characterized, and how we can ultimately break out if it.

Frank D’Antonio

Photographed By Gail at the Museum of Modern Art in March of 2014 NYC while on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: James Rosenquist, Marilyn Monroe, I

James Rosenquist Marilyn Monroe I
Photo By Gail

James Rosenquist (born November 29, 1933) is among my favorite living American artists. Rosenquist’s large-scale paintings reflect the flat, uniform, and graphic style of the commercial billboards he made while working as a sign painter. Later, as a visual artist, Rosenquist drew inspiration from advertising and mass media. Many of his works are based on found images from magazines, collaged together and reproduced at a large scale, powerfully juxtaposing people, objects, visual symbols, visual texture and text to create new and sometimes cryptic meanings.

Rosenquist painted the above work, Marilyn Monroe, I (Oil and Spray Enamel on Canvas) in 1962. Gripped by the suicide of the screen icon and sex symbol, he created a stylized, fragmented, and inverted portrait of Monroe interwoven and superimposed with disjointed parts of Marilyn’s name, image, and the trademark script of the Coca-Cola logo. By fragmenting Monroe’s image and combining her with another popular product, Rosenquist comments on how the late actress’s life and career had been co-opted and consumed by her superstar status (Source).

Marilyn Monroe, I resides in the permanent collection of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art.

Sur-Real at Woodward Gallery

Cristina Vergano
Art By Cristina Vergano (All Photos By Gail)

Not necessarily comprised of surrealist works, Sur-real is a bit of a mixed exhibit bag now showing at Woodward Gallery on the Lower East Side. Participating artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thomas Buildmore, Deborah Claxton, Sybil Gibson, Richard Hambleton, Kosbe, David Larson, Mark Mastroianni, Margaret Morrison, NoseGo, Kenji Nakayama, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, stikman, Jeremy Szopinski, Francesco Tumbiolo, Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk, Cristina Vergano, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Andy Warhol, so there’s something for just about every taste in modern and contemporary art.

Flowers and BaguetteHot Chocolate

We attended the opening reception on a frigid and snowy Saturday evening, when the gallery welcomed guests with cups of hot chocolate and tiny slices of baguette, which we enjoyed dipping in the steaming hot cocoa! Comforting!

Dog By Andy Warhol
Dog By Andy Warhol

Here’ a painting by Andy Warhol that I had actually never seen before. And I didn’t think that was possible.

Stikman

The artist known only as Stikman is best known for his yellow painted Stick Figures that you see mostly on sidewalks and the blacktop. Here you see the iconic Stikman figure constructed of reflective material and perched inside a bird cage. I love the zebra-like shadows that the cage’s bars cast off of the Stikman’s mirrored surface.

Margaret Morrison
Candy Apples by Margaret Morrison

Artist Margaret Morrison has a few nice pieces in the show.

Margaret Morrison
Time Out by Margaret Morrison

Self Portrait By Kurt Vonnegut Jr
Self Portrait By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

While I was looking at the above drawing by the late, great author Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the person standing next to me actually said, “Wasn’t he also a writer?” I wish I was kidding.

Dennis Oppenheim
Search for Clues By Dennis Oppenheim

Not bad for our first Art Crawl of the New Year!

Sur-Real will be on Exhibit Through February 22, 2014, at Woodward Gallery, Located at 133 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 Noon – 5:00 PM and by Appointment.

James Rosenquist's F-111 at MOMA

James Rosenquist F-111 Installation at MOMA 2012
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.

Moma James Rosenquist f111 2012 Installation

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.

Moma James Rosenquist f111 2012 Installation

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.