Pop Art, one of the most renown Artistic Movements in 21st Century America. When you imagine Pop Art who unintentionally crosses your thought process? Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Hans Hoffman, right? Yet, there are a handful of icons from these era who go unnoticed, the Cincinnati born Tom Wesselman being one of them.
Defining Pop Art, this profound movement not only refers to painting, but sculpture and printmaking as well. The term Pop Art originated in London during the mid 1950's yet American Pop Art did not emerge until the 1960's. So what exactly is this Pop Art? British, Richard Hamilton, one of the first originators of the artistic form defined the era as,"Popular; Transient; Expendable; Low Cost; Mass Produced; Young; Witty; Sexy; Gimmicky; Glamorous; and Big Business." Although true, I wouldn't consider his definition as the most aesthetically pleasing so let's have a look at MOMA's. MOMA describes Pop Art as, "aggressively contemporary imagery, anonymity of surface, strong, flatly applied colours and a stylistic unity often associated with centralized compositions." That's better!
I had the opportunity to admire Wesselman's art recently during a short stint in Denver, CO. The Denver Art Museum was checked off my extensive travel list the first day. I quickly skimmed through the first and second floor permanent exhibits (as most do) but stopped while approaching the Wesselman Exhibit. Wesselman's subject matter wasn't necessarily complex, which consisted mostly of the female body as well as mass marketed consumer goods but it was the use of his medium, cut steel which was fascinating. The cut still welded into free standing, three dimensional, still-lifes was all encompassing. Interesting fact, it was actually the powerful and moving work of De Kooning (see previous blog post) which inspired Wesselman to become a painter. Wesselman's life ended in 2004, but his legacy lives on. Admire the most recent Wesselman exhibit at DenverArtMeusuem.Com!
Monet & Me