The Pop Object: The Still Life Tradition in Pop Art


Roy Lichtenstein, "Still Life with Palette", 1972.
Roy Lichtenstein, "Still Life with Palette", 1972.

“The Pop Object: The Still Life Tradition in Pop Art,” curated by renowned art historian John Wilmerding, is a survey of Pop art that includes more than 75 important works by Robert Arneson, Vija Celmins, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Edward Kienholz, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Marisol, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist, George Segal, Marjorie Strider, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, John Wesley, Tom Wesselmann, and H.C. Westermann.

In addition to significant loans from prestigious private collections and institutions such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the exhibition includes seminal work from several of the artists’ personal collections.

[VIDEO: Excerpt from NYC-ARTS News – April 25, 2013]

The central focus of the exhibition is the development of Pop art in the United States and still life’s role in the context of Pop. “Still life also has long been treated as a minor preoccupation for artists, yet has turned out to be the occasion for some of Pop’s most innovative and witty expressions,” said Wilmerding. Each featured artist views the still life as an important vehicle of expression in capturing themes of contemporary life reflective of a post-war consumerist society. Though Pop artists did not consider themselves as being a part of a unified movement, the still life object has been of shared interest to both canonical Pop artists and lesser-known artists. Two major innovative ideas will be explored in the exhibition: the expansion of still life beyond painting into multidimensional sculptural forms, and the presentation of a variety of new media as modes of expression.

To achieve this, Wilmerding has organized the exhibition into four major themes: food and drink, the garden, body parts, and clothing and housewares. For example, Tom Wesselmann’s laser-cut steel drawings of flower bouquets are presented alongside Roy Lichtenstein’s graphic black flowers in oil on canvas. The juxtaposition reveals the various pioneering styles and techniques each artist employed while paying homage to earlier traditions of painting.

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Acquavella Galleries

Acquavella Galleries is a gallery specializing in 19th- and 20th-century art. Includes catalogs, artists and exhibitions.