Pencil on paper
Courtesy Sonnabend Collection
On display from 2009 to 2012 (May)
Both these drawings can be traced to preliminary studies for collages, paintings or installations of large dimensions, in which the artist varies compositions of objects in
different possible combinations. This is obvious, in particular, in the case of Untitled (1964), which can be compared by its iconographic theme – a radio set on a bracket against a tiled wall – to at least 5 works on a similar theme all from the same year: Study for Drawing Little Still Life # 32; Still Life #38; Little Still Life #18; Still Life #40 and Still Life #46 (all in private collections). The experiments with still life were intensified starting from that year, taking the form of a series of bizarre combinations of objects and furnishings, which the artist sought to represent in their essential forms through their bright colours and the qualities of the materials. “But these things have such crazy give-and-take that I feel they get really very wild,” explained Wesselmann in an interview with G. R. Swenson in 1964 in ARTnews. In the apparent randomness of these scenes of interiors, the artist therefore
creates a dialogue between forms taken directly from reality. In his reproduction of reality, however, we can read between the lines a reflection on the history of art and in particular on the lesson of Impressionist Realism developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which is now part of the contemporary collective imagination through posters and advertisements. Concerned to give a new relevance to a traditional genre like still life, Wesselmann claims an aesthetic use of everyday objects and does not refer to them as purely consumer objects. Because of this different way of using them, he does not like his work to be identified with the aesthetic of Pop Art tout court.
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 ...
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