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Artists James Rosenquist

James Rosenquist

American Painter

James Rosenquist Photo
Movement: Pop Art

Born: November 29, 1933 - Grand Forks, North Dakota

Died: March 31, 2017 - New York City

"Popular culture isn't a freeze-frame; it is images zapping by in rapid-fire succession, which is why collage is such an effective way of representing contemporary life. The blur between images creates a kind of motion in the mind."

James Rosenquist Signature

Summary

A seminal figure in the Pop art movement, James Rosenquist is best known for his colossal collage paintings of enigmatically juxtaposed fragmentary images borrowed largely from advertisements and mass media. Brought together and enlarged so as to cover entire gallery walls and overwhelm the viewer, these seemingly unrelated pictures of consumer products, weaponry, and celebrities hint at the artist's social, political, and cultural concerns. The billboard painter-turned-artist's early works are also considered emblematic of a burgeoning consumer culture in America during the 1960s. For six decades Rosenquist created massive, provocative paintings, whose continued relevance hinges on their engagement with current economic, political, environmental, and scientific issues.

Key Ideas

The artist was among the first to directly address the persuasive, even deceptive, powers of advertising by applying the Surrealist practice of juxtaposing seemingly unrelated subjects to fragmented commercial images and ads in a manner that highlights the omnipresence of ads.
An advocate for his fellow artists, Rosenquist used his prominent artistic reputation to help lobby for federal protection of artists' rights during the 1970s and was soon thereafter appointed to the National Council on the Arts.
Because he successfully moved beyond his early fascination with popular culture and mass media to address new issues, such as the intersection of science and aesthetics, Rosenquist is credited with being one the few Pop artists whose later work continues to be relevant.
James Rosenquist in the apartment of Barbara Lane (1993)

Rosenquist started out by painting advertising imagery for others, but found his success in producing his own, similarly large scale, images. He said "I feel lucky that I've been able to make a living from painting any idea that comes into my head."

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