Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hand - Painted Pop! Art and Appropriation, 1961 to Now

 Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford
 April 29 – August 13, 2017

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will exhibit two special loan s from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of the exhibition “Hand - Painted Pop! Art and Appropriation, 1961 to Now.” 

Andy Warhol’s “Water Heater” 


Roy Lichtenstein, Girl with Ball, 1961. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, Gift of Philip Johnson, 421.1981. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.

and Roy Lichtenstein’s “Girl with Ball , ” both painted in 1961 in New York as opening salvos in the Pop art movement, will be on view alongside a selection of 14 Pop and Pop - inspired artworks belonging to the Wadsworth Atheneum and two private collections in this exploration of the development and legacy of Pop art . “Hand - Painted Pop!” will be on view April 29 – August 13, 2017. 

Evolving alongside Abstract Expressionism, epitomized by Jackson Pollock’s signature drip process, early Pop art paintings were visibly hand - painted. “Water Heater” and “Girl with Ball” were both painted entirely by hand in 1961, before mechanical processes — particularly silkscreening — came to define the movement. 

Additional works by Warhol in the exhibition witness that transition: 

“ Triple Silver Disaster” (1963) is screen printed on canvas , but still bears visible brushstrokes in the silver background ; a set of silkscreened “Marilyn Monroe” (1967) prints on paper are visibly slick and use a range of vivid and unmixed colors. 

In a clear departure from abstraction, Pop artists chose representational subject matter, focusing large ly on mass media including newspapers, magazines, film and television. They appropriated (borrowed, self - consciously) imagery and modes of visual expression, as the central message of their work was exploiting popular culture. Lichtenstein and Warhol drew “Girl with Ball” and “Water Heater” directly from newspapers ads; facsimiles of these source image s will accompany the paintings. 

The legacy of appropriation in art will be explored through additional works in the exhibition dated up to the present , all exhibited in conjunction with their source material. 

Hank Willis Thomas, Basketball and Chain, 2003, Digital C-print, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Jean Crutchfield & Robert Hobbs in honor of Susan Talbott, 2014.14.1
Hank Willis Thomas’ “Basketball and Chain” (2003) references Nike advertisement s from the 1980s; 

 Sam Durant, Like, man, I’m tired of waiting, 2002, Aluminum, acrylic, and light bulbs, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The James L. Goodwin Fund, 2002.26.8

a Sam Durant light box bearing the titular phrase “Like, man, I’m tired of waiting,” (2002) is derived from a Civil Rights march photograph; and from Richard Prince’s controversial “Cowboy” series, the privately - lent “Untitled (Cowboy) (Rearing Horse)” (1997 ) is based on a photograph of a Marlboro advertisement published in “Time” magazine the same year. 

“As contemporary people , we have complicated views on appropriation . We live in a society that is saturated with image makers — everyone has a camera in their phone ” says Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art Patricia Hickson. “ Still, we probably don’t view Lichtenstein’s meticulously hand - painted ‘Girl with Ball’ as a copy of a newspaper advertisement for a summer resort, despite the similarities between the painting and that source image. Alternatively, Prince’s photograph of the famed cigarette character — the “ Marlboro Man ” — has given many pause, largely due to the artist’s process. So what distinctions are we making? How do we draw the line?” 

“Hand - Painted Pop!” also features works by artists including Robert Arneson, Rosalyn Drexler, Robert Longo, Christian Marclay, Cady Noland, Richard Pettibone, Wayne Thiebaud , Tom Wesselmann and Dulce Chacón . 


Rosalyn Drexler, The Rescue, 1963, Liquitex and collage on canvas, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Gift of Joseph L. Shulman, 1965.44