Sunday, 2 April 2017

James Rosenquist, 1933 - 2017

James Rosenquist, Untitled (Joan Crawford says...), 1964
James Rosenquist died 31 March 2017.
James Rosenquist's masterpiece was undoubtedly F-111 (1964-5). This 85 foot long painting (illustrated in 4 sections, below) interlaces the titular American fighter-bomber deployed in Vietnam with the iconography of mid-twentieth century consumer capitalism and technology - the 'American Dream' of material prosperity underpinned by military power and threatened by nuclear apocalypse. As Rosenquist put it himself, the bomber was “flying through the flak of consumer society to question the collusion between the Vietnam death machine, consumerism, the media, and advertising.”
Rosenquist initially earned a living as a billboard painter and turned this experience of large-scale painting of advertising images to develop his distinctive, monumental paintings of images drawn from the vocabulary of popular culture. The scale of these paintings is evident from the installation shot of Star Thief (1980), below.
Read obituaries by Martin Pengelly, Ken Johnson, and an appreciation by Jerry Saltz.
(Click on images to elarge)
James Rosenquist, President Elect, 1960-1/1964
James Rosenquist, Study for President Elect, c1960
James Rosenquist, I Love You with My Ford, 1961
James Rosenquist, F-111, 1964-5
James Rosenquist, F-111, 1964-5 (Installation views - MoMA, NY, 2012
James Rosenquist, Star Thief, 1980
James Rosenquist, installation view of Star Thief, 1980
James Rosenquist, The Swimmer in the Econo-Mist #3,  1997-8
James Rosenquist, Untitled #3,2006
Ugo Mulas, James Rosenquist in his studio, 1964

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Pop Art in Print - The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

Ed Ruscha, Mocha Standard, 1969 - screenprint
Pop Art in Print is at The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum until 4 June 2017.
Drawn from the print collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum this is a substantial exhibition of American and British printmaking from the heyday of Pop Art, along with a few examples of more recent, Pop-inflected work. Most of the major figures of the period are represented, including, amongst the British artists - Peter Blake, Patrick Caulfield, Richard Hamilton, Allen Jones and Eduardo Paolozzi; and amongst the Americans - Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Ruscha, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. Many familar and iconic images are here alongside some less well known material including examples of concert posters, wallpaper and textiles. A really interesting exhibition.
(Click on images to elarge; all images from the V&A website.)
Richard Hamilton, Adonis in Y Fronts, 1962-3 - screenprint
Peter Blake, Beach Boys, 1964 - screenprint
Roy Lichtenstein, Crak! Now Mes Petits...Pour La France, 1964 - offset lithograph
Andy Warhol, Birmingham Race Riot, 1964 - screenprint
Richard Hamilton, Interior, 1964-5 - screenprint
Richard Hamilton, My Marilyn, 1965 - screenprint
Eduard Paolozzi, [from] Moonstrips Empire News, 1967 - screenprint
Tom Wesselmann, Seascape (Tit), 1967 - screenprint
Patrick Caulfield, Cafe Sign, 1968 - screenprint
Peter Blake, Babe rainbow, 1968 - screenprint
Patrick Caulfield, Small Window, 1969 - screenprint
Julian Opie, Sara Gets Undressed (lenticular), 2004 - Lambda print overlaid with lenticular plastic

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Colour Is - Waddington Custot

Donald Judd, Untitled (DJ77-18) (meter box), 1977 - anodized aluminium
Colour Is is at Waddington Custot until 22 April 2017.
This is a joyful exhibition of painting and sculpture, from the mid 1960s to the present, which uses colour as a principal component. Resolutely abstract, the work  here, perhaps, confirms Donald Judd's observation (quoted in the exhibition text) that 'the necessities of representation inhibited the use of colour'. Colour is certainly liberated here, and to exhilerating effect. Donald Judd's own wall mounted box is a gorgeous indigo which is spectacularly complemented by David Annesly's exuberant ribbons of bright yellow steel; Ian Davenport's sensuous pool of poured paint fulfils Frank Stella's onetime ambition to make paintings that kept the paint 'as good as it was in the can'. A beautiful show.
Artists included are: Etel Adnan, Josef Albers, David Annesley, David Batchelor, Anthony Caro, Ian Davenport, Paul Feeley, Sam Gilliam, Peter Halley, John Hoyland, Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth, Jeremy Moon, Kenneth Noland, Hélio Oiticica, Yuko Shiraishi, Frank Stella, Joe Tilson and William Tucker.
Read a review by Sam Cornish.
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Josef Albers, Study for Homage to the Square: "Persistent" (JAF:0610), 1954-60 - oil on masonite
John Hoyland, 29.8.73, 1973 - acrylic on canvas
William Tucker, Karnak, 1966 - fibreglass
David Annesley, Orinoco, 1965 - painted steel
Joseph Kosuth, II 49 (On Color / Multi #2), 1991 - multi-coloured neon
Ian Davenport, Circle Painting: Turquoise, Yellow, Turquoise, 2001 - household paint on MDF
Peter Halley, Blue Cell, 1999 - acrylic, pearlescent and metallic acrylic and Roll-a-Tex on canvas

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The American Dream - British Museum

Andy Warhol, Vote McGovern, 1972 - colour screenprint
The American Dream: Pop to the Present is at the British Museum until 18 June 2017.
This exhibition made me so happy! From the moment I entered to find a suite of Andy Warhol's Electric Chair prints to my left and a suite of Marilyn prints to my right I knew this was going to be a great exhibition. And it is. It is a fabulous survey of modern American printmaking with great work by a host of great artists. In addition to Warhol the exhibition features Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Jenny Holzer, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Sol Lewitt, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra and many, many more. The survey spans the decades since the 1960s - from the moment of Pop and contemporary events such as the assasination of J.F. Kennedy, the Apollo 11 moon landing and Vietnam - through to the more recent period marked by AIDS and the politics of race and gender.
Read reviews by Alastair Sooke, Emily Spicer, Michael Glover, Marina Vaizey
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Andy Warhol, Electric Chair, 1971 - from suite of 10 colour sceeenprints
Jasper Johns, Flags II, 1973 - screenprint
Jim Dine, Five Paintbrushes (first state), 1972 - etching
Jim Dine, Five Paintbrushes (sixth state), 1973 - etching, drypoint, soft-ground and aquatint
Claes Oldenburg, Profile Airflow, 1969 - moulded polyurethane relief over lithograph
Ed Ruscha, Standard Station, 1966 - colour screenprint
Bruce Nauman, Clear Vision, 1973 - lithograph and screenprint
Wayne Thiebaud, Bacon and Eggs, 1964 - etching
Robert Bechtle, '60 T-Bird, 1967 - etching
Richard Serra, Core, 1987 - screenprint with paintstick
Chuck Close, Phile Spitbite, 1995 - spit-bite aquatint and etching
Richard Estes, Grant's, 1972 - colour screenprint
Andy Warhol,  Jackie II, 1965 - colour screenprint
Jenny Holzer, AKA, 2006 (from AKA 1-5) - photo-etching
Mel Bochner, It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This, 2013 - etching with aquatint