Nude Pop Art
"Still Life #60, " by Tom Wesselmann
Lent by Claire Wesselmann. © home of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Photo Credit: Jeffrey Sturges.
In sixties, when Tom Wesselmann, whose tasks are presently on show within Denver Art Museum, first gained nationwide interest, and into the '70s, his name had been discussed in identical breath as that of Warhol, Johns and Rauschenberg. Today, less. On a personal note, we show among those soup-to-nuts, Turner-to-Judd courses in the University of Colorado Denver, but when I lecture on pop music art, I don't also point out Wesselmann - though I'm able to scarcely shut up about Warhol.
What exactly occurred? Just what went incorrect? Discover my three-part theory.
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"Landscape #5, " by Tom Wesselmann
First, Wesselmann was out-of step with all of the other pop music designers because he had beenn't gay, and much more therefore, his work had been pointedly not "camp." Not all of the pop music music artists had been gay - though Warhol, Johns and Rauschenberg had been - however the movement traded about this homosexual sensibility of camp. It really is campy to turn a soup can into an icon or even the US flag into a painting.
In Wesselmann's case, a pop music rendering of a reclining feminine nude (their main claim to popularity) doesn't always have similar result, given that it's way more in line with the history of art: The reclining feminine nude is a regular topic for artists for years and years, while soup cans and flags never have. This made Wesselmann's work more conservative from an art-historical point of view, regardless of the stylistic products he utilized - as well as his part, he refused being called a pop musician whatsoever.
Second, these reclining feminine nudes, usually with plainly expressed erect nipples, became more outré into the 1980s. The assault on nude and on sexuality came from both sides: Feminists attacked the work because it was viewed as sexist, while cultural conservatives attacked it if you are salacious. And if that wasn't adequate, AIDS, that has been very first identified inside 1980s, stop the free-love scene - that Playboy/Penthouse world of the swinging bachelor that the Wesselmann nudes appear to mirror. (The man-about-town impression ended up being wrong, as it turns out, since Wesselmann's subject had been typically their partner.)
Did I point out smoking cigarettes? Second simply to their buxom nudes, Wesselmann's paintings of smokers were their most critical works, and I also won't need to inform you just how anti-smoking we became. So his main topics became, through the passing of time and switching values, away from step using current culture.
Third, Wesselmann determined to go for some big bucks by having prints cranked out by the thousands. These prints - usually not nudes or cigarette smokers, but instead his riffs on modern art history - flooded industry in the 1980s and '90s. And because they sold just for a couple of hundred dollars, and because their name had been nevertheless acknowledged, they travelled out of the doors of galleries coast to coast.
" Smoker, 1 (lips, 12), " by Tom Wesselmann
he Museum of Modern Art, New York. Susan Morse Hilles Fund, 1968. © home of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, ny, NY, Photo Credit: Jeffrey Sturges.