James Rosenquist: His American Life
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James Rosenquist: His American Life @ Acquavella Galleries, New York

Thu 25 Oct 2018 to Fri 7 Dec 2018

James Rosenquist: His American Life @ Acquavella Galleries

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Open: 10am-5pm Mon-Fri

18 East 79th Street, NY 10075, New York Upper East Side, USA
Open: 10am-5pm Mon-Fri


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James Rosenquist: His American Life

James Rosenquist: His American Life
to Fri 7 Dec 2018

I’m interested in contemporary vision… the flicker of chrome, reflections, rapid associations, quick flashes of light. Bing-bang! I don’t do anecdotes. I accumulate experiences.
– James Rosenquist

Acquavella Galleries presents James Rosenquist: His American Life, a major loan exhibition focusing on James Rosenquist’s compelling and poetic vision of postwar America.

Acquavella Galleries James Rosenquist 1

Acquavella Galleries James Rosenquist 2

Acquavella Galleries James Rosenquist 4

Acquavella Galleries James Rosenquist 5

Acquavella Galleries James Rosenquist 6

Acquavella Galleries James Rosenquist 7

Installation View 1, Left to Right: James Rosenquist, 1, 2, 3, Outside, 1963. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Gift from the Gene Swenson Collection. James Rosenquist, In the Red, 1962. Private Collection, New York. James Rosenquist, Spaghetti and Spaghetti (Grisaille), 1965. Private Collection, New York. James Rosenquist, Untitled (Between Mind and Pointer), 1980. The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Gift of Philip Johnson, 1998. James Rosenquist, Win a New House This Christmas (Contest), 1964. Private Collection, New York. James Rosenquist, Lanai, 1964. Ryobi Foundation © Estate of James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

Installation View 2, Left to Right: James Rosenquist, Lanai, 1964. Ryobi Foundation. James Rosenquist, The Lines Were Deeply Etched on the Map of Her Face, 1962. Romenesa LLC, New York. James Rosenquist, The Light That Won’t Fail I, 1961. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Gift of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1966 © Estate of James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

Installation View 3, Left to Right: James Rosenquist, Untitled (Blue Sky), 1962. Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greeenwich, Connecticut. James Rosenquist, Above the Square, 1963. Private Collection © Estate of James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

Installation View 4, Left to Right: James Rosenquist, Spaghetti and Spaghetti (Grisaille), 1965. Private Collection, New York. James Rosenquist, Brighter Than the Sun, 1961. Private Collection © Estate of James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

Installation View 5: James Rosenquist, House of Fire II, 1982. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift from the Emily Fisher Landau Collection © Estate of James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

Installation View 6, Left to Right: James Rosenquist, Fahrenheit 1982°, 1982. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the John I. H. Baur Purchase Fund, the Mr. and Mrs. M. Anthony Fisher Purchase Fund and The Lauder Foundation—Drawing Fund. James Rosenquist, Source and Preparatory Sketch for Lanai, 1964. Estate of James Rosenquist. Cage, 1964. Private Collection, courtesy The Heller Group © Estate of James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

The exhibition presents Rosenquist as a lyrical artist who painted what he saw and felt about the world around him, creating images that reflected his experience of American life and its political landscape. Curated by Judith Goldman, the exhibition features seventeen paintings from the early 1960s through the early 1980s, focusing on the themes that would preoccupy him throughout his career.

“Rosenquist is celebrated as the painter of F-111, and early on he took his place in the pantheon of Pop. But his range was far greater. He was rigorous picture maker and an enigmatic storyteller. The focus of this exhibition is on the breadth and sheer poetry of Rosenquist’s vision of the world around him.”

Born in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Rosenquist was raised in the Midwest during an era of war and patriotism. He came of age in a time of prosperity, when the pursuit of the American Dream was paramount. Beginning in the early 1960s, Rosenquist channeled his experience working as a billboard painter with his experience of America to create enigmatic but suggestive narratives. Out of popular images and commonplace objects, Rosenquist crafted a poetic visual language with jarring, unexpected couplings and haunting metaphors.

The show includes important loans from museums such as the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas; in addition to loans from private collections.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book that includes an essay by Judith Goldman, a meditation “Eighteen Midwests for James Rosenquist” by the novelist and essayist Charles Baxter, and a remembrance by Michael Findlay, a director of the Acquavella Galleries whose friendship with Rosenquist spanned five decades.

Judith Goldman is a writer and curator, and a former curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is the author of James Rosenquist and James Rosenquist, The Early Pictures and has written numerous essays on contemporary art and artists. Most recently she curated “Robert & Ethel Scull: Portrait of a Collection” at the Acquavella Galleries (2010) and the installation of “Phoenix, Xu Bing” at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (2014-15).

James Rosenquist (1933-2017) born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1933, was one of the most important American artists of the postwar era. He studied at the University of Minnesota and at his teacher’s suggestion applied and won a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York. In 1955, he left the Art Students League and eventually took a job painting billboards, often working on a scaffold high above Times Square.

In the 1960s, Rosenquist transposed the visual language of commercial painting onto his canvases, filling his large-scale pictures with fragmented advertising imagery in bright colors. Rosenquist’s paintings of this era, such as the iconic F-111 (1964-65), are pictorial critiques of contemporary American culture, and he is considered a pioneer of the Pop art movement along with fellow artists Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

The work of James Rosenquist is represented in major private and public collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Centre Georges Pompidou, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Tate Modern in London. Aside from his many gallery and museum exhibitions, Rosenquist has had more than fifteen retrospectives, with two at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2003 the Guggenheim Museum organized a retrospective that traveled to Houston, New York, Bilbao and Wolfsburg. Most recently, he was the subject of the traveling retrospective James Rosenquist: Painting as Immersion at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Stockholm from 2017-18. His 2009 autobiography, Painting Below Zero: Notes on a Life in Art, is a best-seller.

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