Sunday, 2 April 2017

James Rosenquist, 1933 - 2017

James Rosenquist, Untitled (Joan Crawford says...), 1964
James Rosenquist died 31 March 2017.
James Rosenquist's masterpiece was undoubtedly F-111 (1964-5). This 85 foot long painting (illustrated in 4 sections, below) interlaces the titular American fighter-bomber deployed in Vietnam with the iconography of mid-twentieth century consumer capitalism and technology - the 'American Dream' of material prosperity underpinned by military power and threatened by nuclear apocalypse. As Rosenquist put it himself, the bomber was “flying through the flak of consumer society to question the collusion between the Vietnam death machine, consumerism, the media, and advertising.”
Rosenquist initially earned a living as a billboard painter and turned this experience of large-scale painting of advertising images to develop his distinctive, monumental paintings of images drawn from the vocabulary of popular culture. The scale of these paintings is evident from the installation shot of Star Thief (1980), below.
Read obituaries by Martin Pengelly, Ken Johnson, and an appreciation by Jerry Saltz.
(Click on images to elarge)
James Rosenquist, President Elect, 1960-1/1964
James Rosenquist, Study for President Elect, c1960
James Rosenquist, I Love You with My Ford, 1961
James Rosenquist, F-111, 1964-5
James Rosenquist, F-111, 1964-5 (Installation views - MoMA, NY, 2012
James Rosenquist, Star Thief, 1980
James Rosenquist, installation view of Star Thief, 1980
James Rosenquist, The Swimmer in the Econo-Mist #3,  1997-8
James Rosenquist, Untitled #3,2006
Ugo Mulas, James Rosenquist in his studio, 1964