Yayoi Kusama - Untitled (1967)


Artist unknown

Roy Lichtenstein Collage for Interior Perfect Pitcher (1994)

Edmond Simpson The Kitt Katt Klubb

Edmond Simpson Child Of Wonder (de Villeneuve-Riley) (02-19)

Andy Warhol - Quadrant Mickey Mouse (1981)

Evan Robarts

Published in Interview Magazine, March 10, 2015

The grooves of a certain kind of boot, size 11 or so, look like human teeth. This nuance was made apparent by the mop paintings of artist Evan Robarts, whose work with common materials that are uncommon to art—chain-link fence, scaffolding, garden hose—endows the familiar with new purpose.

Robarts’s first major solo show opened last week at The Hole in downtown Manhattan. Inspired by his time working as a superintendent in East New York, “Run of the Mill” is politically charged and socially motivated, but visitors need not come equipped with knowledge of Robarts’s message to appreciate his play with and manipulation of ordinary forms.

On view are selections from three distinct bodies of work. In a series of “line drawings,” rubber tubing snakes through glass panels that are bolted to the wall or propped on the floor. Using three different kinds of glass, each piece obtains its own personality and relationship to the space, some reflecting the surroundings and others turned inward, frosty and contemplative. His mop paintings are made with plaster, linoleum, and custodial equipment, tracing the processes by which they were made.

The third sector is a series of site-specific scaffolding works that reside in a room separated from the rest of the space. Wrested from its role in the city’s ubiquitous revitalizations, the artist reveals scaffolding’s surprising kinship with children’s toys and jungle gyms, an “institutional critique,” he says, in the same vein of Sol LeWitt’s wall paintings.
Beyond mere reappropriation, “Run of the Mill” is a “celebration of this material,” the New York-based artist says, and a “preservation of where I was in my life. My experiences enabled me not to make work, but to do what was natural.”

In an Interview exclusive, Robarts is the subject of an artist film from director Elena Parasco. Frustrated with what she perceived as an unendurable sameness in the genre, her film seeks to “augment the experience” of viewing art. The film “doesn’t cocoon [the work],” Parasco said. “It incites participation.” Watch the video below to see Robarts at work firsthand.

Rorschach 1984 warhol

This painting belongs to a series modeled on the famous "inkblot" test invented by the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach. Whereas the actual test provides ten standardized blots for a patient to decipher, Warhol invented his own, achieved by painting one side of a canvas and then folding it vertically to imprint the other half. Ironically, Warhol originally misinterpreted the clinical process, believing that patients created the inkblots and doctors interpreted them: “I thought that when you went to places like hospitals, they tell you to draw and make the Rorschach Tests. I wish I’d known there was a set.” Because of this misunderstanding, Warhol’s Rorschach series is one of the few in which the artist does not rely on preexisting images.

Thomas K. Wesselmann

From Wikipedia

Thomas K. Wesselmann (February 23, 1931 – December 17, 2004) was an American artist associated with the Pop Art movement who worked in painting, collage and sculpture.
Wesselmann was born at Cincinnati.

From 1949 to 1951 he attended college in Ohio; first at Hiram College, and then transferred to major in Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. He was drafted into the US Army in 1952 but spent his service years stateside.

During that time he made his first cartoons and became interested in pursuing a career in cartooning. After his discharge he completed his psychology degree in 1954, whereupon he began to study drawing at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He achieved some initial success when he sold his first cartoon strips to the magazines 1000 Jokes and True.

Cooper Union accepted him in 1956, and he continued his studies in New York. During a visit to the MoMA he was inspired by the Robert Motherwell painting Elegy to the Spanish Republic: “The first aesthetic experience… He felt a sensation of high visceral excitement in his stomach, and it seemed as though his eyes and stomach were directly connected”.
Wesselmann also admired the work of Willem de Kooning, but he soon rejected action painting: “He realized he had to find his own passion he felt he had to deny to himself all that he loved in de Kooning, and go in as opposite a direction as possible."

For Wesselmann, 1958 was a pivotal year. A landscape painting trip to Cooper Union's Green Camp in rural New Jersey, brought him to the realization that he could pursue painting, rather than cartooning, as a career.

After graduation, Wesselmann became one of the founding members of the Judson Gallery, along with Marc Ratliff and Jim Dine, also from Cincinnati, who had just arrived in New York. He and Ratliff showed a number of small collages in a two-man exhibition at Judson Gallery. He began to teach art at a public school in Brooklyn, and later at the High School of Art and Design.

Wesselmann's series Great American Nude (begun 1961) first brought him to the attention of the art world. After a dream concerning the phrase "red, white, and blue", he decided to paint a Great American Nude in a palette limited to those colors and any colors associated with patriotic motifs such as gold and khaki.

 The series incorporated representational images with an accordingly patriotic theme, such as American landscape photos and portraits of founding fathers. Often these images were collaged from magazines and discarded posters, which called for a larger format than Wesselmann had used previously. As works began to approach a giant scale he approached advertisers directly to acquire billboards.

Through Henry Geldzahler Wesselmann met Alex Katz, who offered him a show at the Tanager Gallery. Wesselmann's first solo show was held there later that year, representing both the large and small Great American Nude collages.

In 1962, Richard Bellamy offered him a one-man exhibition at the Green Gallery. About the same time, Ivan Karp of the Leo Castelli Gallery put Wesselmann in touch with several collectors and talked to him about Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist’s works. These Wesselmann viewed without noting any similarities with his own

While not a cohesive movement, the idea of Pop Art (a name coined by Lawrence Alloway and others) was gradually spreading among international art critics and the public. In As Henry Geldzahler observed: “About a year and a half ago I saw the works of Wesselmann..., Warhol, Rosenquist and Lichtenstein in their studios (it was more or less July 1961). They were working independently, unaware of each other, but drawing on a common source of imagination.

 In the space of a year and a half they put on exhibitions, created a movement and we are now here discussing the matter in a conference. This is instant history of art, a history of art that became so aware of itself as to make a leap that went beyond art itself”.

The Sidney Janis Gallery held the New Realists exhibition in November 1962, which included works by the American artists Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, George Segal, and Andy Warhol; and Europeans such as Arman, Enrico Baj, Christo, Yves Klein, Tano Festa, Mimmo Rotella, Jean Tinguely, and Mario Schifano.

It followed the Nouveau Réalismeexhibition at the Galerie Rive Droite in Paris, and marked the international debut of the artists who soon gave rise to what came to be called Pop Art in Britain and The United States and Nouveau Réalisme on the European continent. Wesselmann took part in the New Realist show with some reservations, exhibiting two 1962 works: Still life #17 and Still life #22.

Wesselmann never liked his inclusion in American Pop Art, pointing out how he made an aesthetic use of everyday objects and not a criticism of them as consumer objects: “I dislike labels in general and 'Pop' in particular, especially because it overemphasizes the material used. There does seem to be a tendency to use similar materials and images, but the different ways they are used denies any kind of group intention”.

That year, Wesselmann had begun working on a new series of still lifes. experimenting with assemblage as well as collage. In Still Life #28he included a television set that was turned on, “interested in the competitive demands that a TV, with moving images and giving off light and sound, can make on painted portions”

He concentrated on the juxtapositions of different elements and depictions, which were at the time truly exciting for him: “Not just the differences between what they were, but the aura each had with it... A painted pack of cigarettes next to a painted apple wasn’t enough for me.

They are both the same kind of thing. But if one is from a cigarette ad and the other a painted apple, they are two different realities and they trade on each other... This kind of relationship helps establish a momentum throughout the picture... At first glance, my pictures seem well behaved, as if – that is a still life, O.K. But these things have such crazy give-and-take that I feel they get really very wild”. He married Claire Selley in November 1963.

In 1964 Ben Birillo, an artist and business partner of gallery owner Paul Bianchini, contacted Wesselmann and other Pop artists with the goal of organizing The American Supermarket at the Bianchini Gallery in New York. This was an installation of a large supermarket where Pop works (Warhol's Campbell's Soup, Watts's colored wax eggs etc.) were shown among real food and neon signs.

In the same year Wesselmann began working on landscapes, including one that includes the noise of a Volkswagen starting up. The first shaped canvas nudes also appeared this year.

Wesselmann's works in these years: Great American Nude #53, Great American Nude #57, show an accentuated, more explicit, sensuality, as though celebrating the rediscovered sexual fulfilment of his new relationship.

He carried on working on his landscapes, but also made the Great American Nude #82, reworking the nude in a third dimension not defined by drawn lines but by medium: molded Plexiglasmodeled on the female figure, then painted.

His compositional focus also became more daring, narrowing down to isolate a single detail: the Mouth series began in 1965, his Seascapes began the following year. Two other new subjects also appeared: Bedroom Painting , and Smoker Study, the latter of which developed from observation of his model for the Mouth series. The Smoker Study series of works would become one of the most recurrent themes in the 1970s

Beginning in 1965, Wesselmann made several studies for seascapes in oil while vacationing in Cape Cod and upstate New York. In his New York City studio, he used an old projector to enlarge them into large-format works. This series of views, called the Drop-Out series were constructed from the negative space around a breast. The breast and torso frame one side of the image while the arm and the leg form the other two sides. This series of works would become one of the most recurrent themes in the 1970s. He started working on shaped canvases and opted for increasingly large formats.

He worked constantly on the Bedroom Painting series, in which elements of the Great American Nude, Still Lifes and Seascapes were juxtaposed. With these works Wesselmann began to concentrate on a few details of the figure such as hands, feet, and breasts, surrounded by flowers and objects. The Bedroom Paintings shifted the focus and scale of the attendant objects around a nude; these objects are small in relation to the nude, but become major, even dominant elements when the central element is a body part. The breast of a woman concealed behind a wall appeared in a box among Wesselmann's sculpted still life elements in a piece entitled Bedroom Tit Box, a key work that “...in its realness and internal scale (the scale relationships between the elements) represents the basic idea of the Bedroom Painting”.

Wesselmann made Still Life #59, five panels that form a large, complex dimensional, freestanding painting: here too the elements are enlarged, and part of a telephone can be seen. A nail-polish bottle is tipped up on one side, and there is a vase of roses with a crumpled handkerchief next to it, and the framed portrait of a woman, actress Mary Tyler Moore, whom Wesselmann considered as the ideal prototype girlfriend. These are works in which he made more recognizable portraits, with a less anonymous feel. In Bedroom painting #12, he inserted a self-portrait. Still Life #60 appeared in 1974: the monumental outline, almost 26 feet (7.9 m) long, of the sunglasses acts as a frame for the lipstick, nail polish and jewelry; a microcosm of contemporary femininity that Wesselmann took to the level of gigantism.

His Smokers continued to change, he introduced the hand, with polished fingernails sparkling in the smoke.

In 1973 he brought to an end the series devoted to the Great American Nude with The Great American Nude #100. But of course the incontrovertible sensuality of Wesselmann's nudes was constantly accompanied by an ironic guiding thread that was clearly revealed in the artist's own words: “Painting, sex, and humor are the most important things in my life."
In 1978 Wesselmann started work on a new series of Bedroom Paintings. In these works he revised the formal construction of the composition, which was now cut by a diagonal, with one entire section being taken up by a woman's face in the very near foreground.

In 1980 Wesselmann published the monograph Tom Wesselmann, an autobiography written under the pseudonym Slim Stealingworth. His second daughter, Kate, was born; previous children were Jenny and Lane.

In 1983 Wesselmann was seized by the idea of doing a drawing in steel, as if the lines on paper could be lifted off and placed on a wall. Once in place the drawings appeared to be drawn directly on the wall. This idea preceded the available technology for lasers to mechanically cut metal with the accuracy Wesselmann needed. He had to invest in the development of a system that could accomplish this, but it took another year for that to be ready.

The incorporation of negative space that had begun in the Drop-Out series was continued into a new medium and format. They started out as works in black and white, enabling him to redevelop the theme of the nude and its composition. Wesselmann took his idea further and decided to make them in color as well. As well as colored metal nudes, in 1984 he started working on rapid landscape sketches that were then enlarged and fabricated in aluminum.

Obliged by the use of metals to experiment with various techniques, Wesselmann cut works in aluminum by hand; for steel he researched and developed the first artistic use of laser-cut metal. Computerized imaging had not yet been developed.

Wesselmann's metal works continued to go through a constant metamorphosis: My Black Belt (1990), a seventies subject,[further explanation needed] acquired a new vivacity that forcefully defined space in the new medium. The Drawing Society produced a video directed by Paul Cummings, in which Wesselmann makes a portrait of a model and a work in aluminum.

“Since 1993 I’ve basically been an abstract painter. This is what happened: in 1984 I started making steel and aluminum cut-out figures... One day I got muddled up with the remnants and I was struck by the infinite variety of abstract possibilities. That was when I understood I was going back to what I had desperately been aiming for in 1959, and I started making abstract three-dimensional images in cut metal. I was happy and free to go back to what I wanted: but this time not on De Kooning’s terms but on mine".

In this new abstract format Wesselmann preferred a random approach, and made compositions in which the metal cut-outs resembled gestural brushstrokes.

His nudes on canvas of this period rework 1960s images. “[They constitute] an unexpected but highly satisfying nostalgic return to a youthful episode in the very midst of one of the most radical changes of style in Wesselmann’s career. Self-contained and complete in themselves, they seem more likely to stand alone rather than to lead to further reinterpretations of Sixties motifs. In other words they should not be taken as a sign that Wesselmann is embarking on an extended re-engagement with his classic Pop phase...”. In 1999 he made his final Smoker work, Smoker #1 (3-D), as a relief in aluminum.

Tom Wesselmann, Sunset Nude with Matisse Odalisque, oil on canvas, 2003. The painting in the background is Matisse's Odalisque with Raised Arms (1923)

In the last ten years, Wesselmann's health was worsened by heart disease, but his studio output remained constant.

The abstract works display firmer lines and a chromatic range that favored primary colors. Wesselmann acknowledged the influence of Mondrian by choosing titles that recall the earlier painter's works: New York City Beauty (2001). In these years, the influence of Matisse diminished the border between Wesselmann's figurative and abstract styles. In 1960 Wesselmann had been able to view the works of the French master in person at the MoMA's Gouaches Découpées (Gouache Cut-outs) exhibition, and forty years later he paid homage in his Sunset Nudes series. In Sunset Nude with Matisse, 2002, he inserted Matisse's painting La Blouse Roumaine (1939–1940). Wesselmann also derived works from Matisse's cut-outs: Blue Nude (2000), initiated a series of blue nude reliefs sculpted in shaped aluminum.
Following surgery for his heart condition, Tom Wesselmann died of complications on December 17, 2004. His last major paintings of the series Sunset Nudes (2003/2004) were shown after his death at the Robert Miller Gallery in New York in April 2006.[23]

Personal life
In 1957 Wesselmann met Claire Selley, another Cooper Union student who was to become his friend, model, and in 1963, his wife. He had two daughters and a son.:102:117

The years following Wesselmann's death were marked by a renewed interest in his work. Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO) exhibited a retrospective in 2005, accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue. The following year L&M Arts in New York held a major exhibition of works from the 1960s. Two galleries; Maxwell Davidson and Yvon Lambert, jointly showed the Drop-Out series in New York in 2007. This coincided with the release of a new monograph on the artist, written by John Wilmerding and published by Rizzoli, Tom Wesselmann, His Voice and Vision.

Wesselman was a self-confessed fan of country music, and sometimes incorporated operating radios, TVs, or other sound elements into his works.

A retrospective show Tom Wesselmann und die Pop Art : pictures on the wall of your heart (2008–2009) at Städtische Galerie in Ravensburg, Germany featured music recordings of his band, courtesy of his estate.

Another show, in 2010 by Maxwell Davidson, Tom Wesselmann: Plastic Works, was the first ever survey of Wesselmann's work in formed plastic.

 A lifetime retrospective of drawings, Tom Wesselmann Draws, was shown at Haunch of Venison Gallery, New York, and then traveled to The Museum of Fine Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL, at Nova Southeastern University, and The Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC. A lifetime retrospective, to travel in North America, will open at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in May, 2012.

Seattle Pop Artist Puts Plastic in the Spotlight

A young Seattle artist’s provocative portraits sift through the layers of consumer culture, attracting the attention of some of the city’s art luminaries


Observing the world around him, newly minted Cornish College of the Arts grad Anthony White, 24, takes a very “meta” view. A dyed-in-the-wool millennial, he belongs to a generation that has never known a world without selfies, social media and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. During his years of exploring painting and sculpture at Cornish, he developed a striking style with an unusual medium, creating intricate sculptural paintings that explore technology, consumerism and mass production, produced by the very material that sometimes expresses those concepts: plastic.
White’s vision arose from an interest in the 3-D printer—the now ubiquitous tool being used to construct everything from engine parts to houses—and a New York City gallery show about what it described as “digitally minded painting.” “I started thinking about different kinds of plastic in 3-D printers, the mass producing of consumer objects, replication; I started thinking about selfies and how they compared to plastic,” he says.
For his senior BFA exhibition, White created a series of portraits with a kind of plastic used in 3-D printing, loaded into handheld 3-D “pen” printers—“technology that’s essentially a glue gun,” he says—depicting human subjects, phones in hand, provocatively posing for selfies. For his generation, when it comes to intimacy and romance, White explains, “it’s as if we are emotionally and romantically investing in the technology rather than the person.”
Like the subjects in his BFA show, White is also a user of social media, which, in his case, is helped along by an outgoing personality and a charismatic smile. He was already attracting attention before graduating, gathering Instagram followers, getting to know the power players of the Seattle art scene and curating regular art shows for Studio E’s pop-up at Amandine Bakeshop in Capitol Hill and a serial group show, While Supplies Last, at venues around the city.
White grew up in Prescott, Arizona with supportive parents who nurtured his creative impulses—he literally used his dad as a canvas to learn how to tattoo—and developed a faith in his ability and talents in a way that kids taught they can be anything tend to do. So, it was no big deal when he asked artist and Cornish instructor Dan Webb to invite Greg Kucera, one of the city’s most respected gallerists, to visit his BFA show. “What did I have to lose?” says White.
Kucera came to White’s exhibition and liked it enough that he bought a painting, rare acts for a busy Seattle gallerist used to working with career artists and traditional painters. Rarer still, Kucera asked White if he could create more works, which White did, and every one of them sold at the Seattle Art Fair before the event officially opened to the public. Finally, Kucera offered White a solo show at his prestigious gallery. “I haven’t worked with an artist this fresh out of art school in over 10 years,” Kucera says. “There’s a brashness to the work; I’m impressed by it, repelled by it. I don’t find the material he’s using attractive, but what he’s doing with it is very compelling.”
Over the summer, White presented a new series at Bellevue Arts Museum’s Bellwether art festival, turning his attention to that instantly recognizable consumer status symbol: the luxury shopping bag. Covered in plastic, the found objects, formerly with no value of their own, are transformed into what the museum describes as “a readymade art object [and] a fossil of its contemporary age.”
To create his painstakingly detailed paintings, bead by plastic bead, White himself becomes a machine, applying new layers to the most manufactured parts of our culture.
“It’s scary, but it’s awesome,” White says, “to think about the algorithms in a machine, how the artificial and the fake might take over the world, how easy it is to replace the things that are human. I wanted to flip that, to show that humans can mimic the machine.”

Nicola L., an Overlooked Female Pioneer of the Pop Art Movement, Has Died at 81

The artist's advocates remember her as a steely, determined force of nature.

Sarah Cascone, January 3, 2019

Conceptual French artist Nicola L., whose feminist work has been experiencing newfound recognition in recent years, died on Monday in Los Angeles at the age of 81. Her shape-shifting art, which spans sculpture, painting, performance, and furniture, often explored the human (and mostly the female) body.

L. “passed… peacefully in her sleep,” Loreta Lamargese, director of New York’s Arsenal Contemporary told artnet News in an email. The gallery’s current exhibition, “CHÈRE” (through January 13), pairs L.’s work with that of three young Canadian artists, Nadia Belerique, Ambera Wellmann, and Chloe Wise. (News of the artist’s passing was first broken by the artist Joseph Nechvatal, who posted a tribute to Nicola L. on his website, recalling his experience watching one of her performances.)
“Nicola was a free spirit and was shaped by the 1960s counterculture she emerged from,” Ruba Katrib, who organized the artist’s 2017 retrospective at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, told artnet News. “She pushed social and political boundaries in her work at a time when it was very daring for a woman to take ownership over her own body.”
Born in 1937 in Mazagan, Morocco, L. studied painting at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. But in 1964, Argentinean artist Alberto Greco asked her a question that would change her life: “How can you paint in the 1960s?” she recounted in a recent interview. In response, she said, “I burned all of my abstract paintings.”
Moving forward, L. developed her own unique practice, blending sculpture, design, video, and performance, all with a feminist edge. She moved to New York in 1979. For nearly 30 years, she called the Chelsea Hotel home, holding on to her apartment even as new owners transformed the longtime artist haven into a luxury hotel. In 2014, she released a documentary, Doors Ajar at the Chelsea Hotel, about the residence’s storied history.
Her first visit to the hotel was back in 1968, when she was performing at La MaMa Experimental Theater Club. “For me it was unbelievable. It made Paris look like the provinces by comparison. But prostitutes and pimps were a part of the package of the Chelsea. And artists—I will not say that they are prostitutes, but they are selling themselves,” L. recalled to Vanity Fair in 2013. “It was either Janis Joplin or the big woman from the Mamas and the Papas who tried to kiss me in the elevator. I can’t remember which. It was a crazy time.”
Immersed in that creative milieu, L. lived in an apartment full of her own art. She is perhaps best known for her large-scale sculptural furniture pieces that often take the form of women’s bodies—a literal objectification—which she began showing in 1969 in Paris at Daniel Templeton and in Brussels at Galerie Veranneman.
In 1970, she debuted her first work of performance art at the Festival of the Isle of Wight. Inspired by the political demonstrations of the era, Red Coat united 11 performers in connected body-obscuring hooded cloaks. The garment was one of her “Penatrables,” loose textiles meant to act as an extension of human skin, underscoring our shared humanity.
The work was later one of several of her pieces included in the exhibition “The World Goes Pop” at London’s Tate Modern in 2015, which examined lesser-known global and political strains of Pop art.
“In researching the many artists who were women and engaged with pop around the world, I encountered Nicola Ls work in the collection of a Belgian design and furniture collector who had acquired her incredible Little TV woman: ‘I Am the Last Woman Object’ (1969),” the exhibition curator Jessica Morgan, director of the Dia Art Foundation, recalled in an email to artnet News, calling the piece “a feminist work that brilliantly satirized the use of the female form in art and commerce.”
“I was especially struck by the critical fusion and flexibility of her adaptations of art and design and of course set out to meet her,” she added. “Like so many artists who are women, Nicola’s work was later overlooked despite her early success. We all need to work harder to learn about these remarkable artists of the past who were written out of history.”
The Tate show marked a turning point of sorts for the artist, who had two solo shows at New York’s Elga Wimmer PCC in 2015 and 2016. Her first institutional solo show, “Nicola L.: Works, 1968 to the Present,” followed the following year.
Giving the exhibition the green light was an easy decision for the institution. “Nicola L. was an artist whose work defied easy categorization and who was significantly underexposed in the contemporary art field,” said director Mary Ceruti in an email to artnet News. “SculptureCenter champions many women artists for whom this is the case.”
Despite her recent resurgence, L.’s star was only just beginning to rise. According to the artnet Price Database, L.’s record at auction is just €31,200 ($34,942), set in 2016 at Artcurial in Paris for a pair of lamp sculptures titled Oeil. Her work is in the collections of museums including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; FRAC Bretagne, Rennes; MAMCO, Geneva; Art & Design Atomium Museum, Brussels; and M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp.

“Over her prolific career, Nicola L. carved unexpected paths through acts of making that led her from function to form, always with a wry sense of humor,” said Loreta Lamargese. “She expanded the human body, rounding it out, engorging its size, until it became robust and utilitarian—men as sofas, knobs as nipples…. Like her Red Coat, a multi-person coat meant to incorporate many wearers into a collective, her practice forefronted what dissolves and what is gained in the politics of gathering and sharing.”