James Rosenquist (1933 - 2017)
By: Legacy Staff
1 year ago
James Rosenquist, an artist most frequently associated with the pop art movement, died Friday, March 31, 2017, at his home in New York City after a long illness, according to multiple news sources. He was 83.
Rosenquist was a pioneer of the style that came to be known as pop art during the 1960s. Along with other famous artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, his subjects were everyday objects and images from advertising and the media.
His most famous piece, “F-111” (1965), is an 86-foot-long sequence of panels featuring familiar images of objects like lightbulbs, spaghetti, a beach umbrella, a mushroom cloud, and a blond girl under a hairdryer, juxtaposed with, and superimposed over, a U.S. Air Force F-111 jet. The painting was a critique of both the war in Vietnam and American consumerism.
Unlike Warhol, Rosenquist preferred to avoid movie stars and brand names when selecting his subjects. He wanted to draw attention to the generic, mundane, and often overlooked objects in life.
“People can remember their childhood, but events from four or five years ago are in a never-never land. That was the imagery I was concerned with,” he told Smithsonian magazine in 2007.
Born Nov. 29, 1933, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, he grew up in Minneapolis. His mother was an amateur painter and encouraged his interest in the arts. He won an art scholarship to take classes at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and later studied at the University of Minnesota. He moved to New York City in 1955.
In New York, he worked as a commercial artist, painting billboards. The large scale of this work was carried over into his personal paintings.
He had solo exhibitions at many of the most prestigious museums including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
In 2009, a fire destroyed his home, office, and studio space in Aripeka, Florida. Some his works were lost.
Rosenquist is survived by his wife, Mimi Thompson.
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