Thursday, August 28, 2008

Art Blogging: James Rosenquist

James Rosenquist (1933- ) is an American Pop artist. Born in North Dakota, he studied at the Minneapolis School of Art and the Art Students League of New York. His career began as a billboard painter, and from his time in that trade he developed a monumental approach in his work. Rosenquist is fond of juxtaposing enormous images as a way of creating narrative. His medium consists of the staging of paintings, prints, and sculptures formulated carefully for exhibition.

His breakthrough work was F-111 (paint on canvas and aluminum, 1964-65, the MOMA), a sectional work placed on four sections of a room, surrounding the viewer. It was considered to be a galvanizing symbol of the anti-Vietnam War movement. This is one of the four panels.

Star Thief (oil on canvas, 1980, Museum Ludwig in Cologne). This enormous work, measuring more than seventeen by forty-six feet, shows Rosenquist's indebtedness to the Surrealists. It is a story of travel and exploration. And that is the biggest piece of bacon I've ever seen. Mmmmm. Bacon....

The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (oil on canvas, 1997-1998, at the Guggenheim in Berlin). This work is an homage to the grandeur of Picasso's Guernica, as well as a reflection on the conclusion of the Cold War. Its name comes from the struggle of Germany to reunify. The swimmer represents the East German struggling through the economic confusion of the collapse of Soviet Communism.

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