Sunday, April 2, 2017

James Rosenquist R.I.P.

Artist James Rosenquist has died.

From the Associated Press:

James Rosenquist, a key artist in the pop art movement, has died at the age of 83.

...One of his best-known pieces is "President Elect," created in the early 1960s. It is a billboard-style painting depicting John F. Kennedy's face alongside a yellow Chevrolet and a piece of cake."The face was from Kennedy's campaign poster. I was very interested at that time in people who advertised themselves," Rosenquist told the art appreciation organization The Art Story. "Why did they put up an advertisement of themselves? So that was his face. And his promise was half a Chevrolet and a piece of stale cake."

Another popular piece was Rosenquist's "F-111," which superimposes a Vietnam War fighter-bomber on images of children and consumer goods.Rosenquist resisted comparisons to his contemporaries Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

"I'm not like Andy Warhol. He did Coca-Cola bottles and Brillo pads. I used generic imagery — no brand names — to make a new kind of picture," Rosenquist said in a 2007 interview with Smithsonian magazine. "People can remember their childhood, but events from four or five years ago are in a never-never land. That was the imagery I was concerned with — things that were a little bit familiar but not things you feel nostalgic about. Hot dogs and typewriters — generic things people sort of recognize."
An upcoming exhibition at the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee will feature James Rosenquist: F-111 (South, West, North, East), 1974.
Acquired by the Haggerty at the end of 2011 with funds from the Mary B. Finnigan Art Endowment, F-111 (South, West, North, East) is one of James Rosenquist’s seminal works on paper. Created a decade after the artist’s painting of the same name, this four-part, 290-inch-long lithograph and screenprint set a new standard of scale for prints in the 1970s. Rosenquist conceived this work during one of the most culturally and politically turbulent decades in American history. He later explained that his subject, the F-111 fighter bomber plane, the most technologically advanced weapon at the time, is positioned “flying through the flak of consumer society to question the collusion between the Vietnam death machine, consumerism, the media, and advertising.”
Rest in peace.

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