Join the WPI this fall for Pop Places 1958–1966, a series of mid-day talks, dedicated to a different key exhibition space of the era. The series’ overarching thesis is that what became known as Pop emerged from an array of sites, where artists, gallerists and critics collectively worked through and developed the forms, ideas and challenges that would later become identified with the movement. Pop did not simply burst forth simultaneously from the individual minds of a few artists (e.g. Wesselmann, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein, Warhol), and cannot be understood outside of the exhibition spaces that made it possible. Building on this thesis, each talk will focus on different sites central to the early public life of Pop Art, the downtown New York scene, and the postwar avant-garde.
What became known as Pop emerged from an array of sites, where artists, gallerists and critics collectively worked through and developed the forms, ideas and challenges that would later become identified with the movement. Pop did not simply burst forth simultaneously from the individual minds of a few artists (e.g. Wesselmann, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein, Warhol), and cannot be understood outside of the exhibition spaces that made it possible.
Building on this thesis, each talk will focus on different sites central to the early public life of Pop Art, the downtown New York scene, and the postwar avant-garde. The talks will be moderated by the project manager, Huffa Frobes-Cross, and researcher, Claire Henry, of the Tom Wesselmann Catalogue Raisonné project.
For more information, visit the Pop Places 1958–1966 event page: https://wpi.art/2022/08/09/19667/
Wildenstein Plattner Institute
30 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10003
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
Pop Art’s Roots: Three Experimental Places with Melissa Rachleff Burtt
In 1990, the art critic David Bourdon told interviewers Billy Klüver and Julie Martin, “In the late fifties I was so interested in what was called Neo-Dada and junk art . . . Pop Art was a little afterthought. It was all this scrap stuff that was supposed to be the big movement. So, I was so amazed when Pop came along and demolished everything else.” Today, scholars are recovering the roots of Pop that so attracted Bourdon. There is vibrant interest in a less distilled narrative.
Rachleff’s presentation builds on this interest in Pop’s roots. In “Pop Art’s Roots: Three Experimental Places,” Rachleff will map out three experimental galleries where the “Pop” sensibility was nurtured: the Hansa (1952–1959), the Reuben (1959–1961) and the Green Gallery (1960–1965). Throughout, the artwork of Jean Follett (1917–1990), an artist who catalyzed the direct use of objects, will be featured.
Melissa Rachleff Burtt is a Clinical Professor in the Visual Arts Administration Program at NYU: Steinhardt, where she concentrates on the nonprofit sector. In 2017, she curated Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965 for NYU Grey Art Gallery and wrote/edited the accompanying book, which is co-published by the Grey and Prestel Publishing.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
Pop Art Goes Viral: From New York City to Europe, Rosenquist’s F-111 Takes Flight
with Sarah Bancroft
In the early 1960s, James Rosenquist was in all the right places. His first Pop art canvases were made at a studio on Coenties Slip, his first show at Green Gallery sold out in 1962, and Rosenquist was included in all the earliest Pop art shows in NYC and beyond. In 1964–65, energy was building around his latest and largest work to date, F-111.
With curators, gallerists, and artists amassing at Rosenquist’s Broome Street studio to see the work progress, the big reveal of F-111 at Leo Castelli Gallery in the spring of 1965 was matched by an instantaneous international interest. By September, museum director Pontus Hultén was exhibiting the work at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. From there, the work went viral across Europe, a serendipitous journey that sent the work to Bern, Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, and beyond.
In Europe, Moderna Museet proved to be a site of influence as strong as NYC, where the primordial soup of American Pop art was first stirred and tasted. This talk explores the people and places that fostered this nascent movement, with a nod to the European distribution and consumption of this dynamic movement.
Sarah Bancroft is the Executive Director of the James Rosenquist Foundation; Chief Curator of the James Rosenquist Estate; and Board President of the Diebenkorn Foundation.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
Two Men from Cincinnati: Tom Wesselmann’s 1962 Debut at The Green Gallery
with Susan Davidson
Richard (Dick) Bellamy opened the Green Gallery on West 57th street in Fall 1960. The gallery’s first eighteen months experienced paltry sales. However, with the explosive arrival of Pop art in America, the gallery became a go-to-source for the “new” art. Tom Wesselmann’s gallery debut featured his Great American Nude and Still Life paintings that were swiftly snatched up by committed collectors as they vied for the artist’s latest artworks. This webinar draws on the author’s research for the forthcoming monograph devoted to the stylistic development and reception of Wesselmann’s most famous body of work, the Great American Nude series (1961–1969/73).
Curator and art historian Susan Davidsonis an authority in the fields of Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art with an expertise in the art of Robert Rauschenberg.
Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
The Role of the Leo Castelli Gallery in the Advent of ‘Pop Art’
with Roberta Bernstein
Leo Castelli established his gallery’s direction when it opened in the late 1950s by exhibiting the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Their art marked a shift away from the prevailing mode of abstract expressionism by employing objects and signs from the everyday environment, popular culture, and the mass media.
By the mid-1960s the Castelli Gallery was considered among the most influential “Pop Places,” exhibiting works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist along with that of Johns and Rauschenberg. Bernstein, who frequented the Castelli gallery after arriving in New York in 1966 as an art history graduate student examines the origins of the galley as center for the various directions of Pop, including her personal experiences.
Roberta Bernstein is recognized as the foremost scholar of the art of Jasper Johns. She is author and project director of the five-volume Jasper Johns: Catalogue Raisonné of Painting and Sculpture, including the comprehensive monograph, Jasper Johns: Redo an Eye, published by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute in 2017–18.