Thursday, March 29, 2012

5 Facts about James Rosenquist

This is an article by kris Kerzman of James Rosenquist.  There  has been so much interest on the blogs I have written on Rosenquist that I thought you would all like more information about his life and career.  I hope you enjoy the article

Five Facts About James Rosenquist by Kris Kerzman
1. He’s from North Dakota. Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks in 1933, moving around the region frequently in his youth and spending a fair amount of time at his grandfather’s farm near Mekinock, N.D. Rosenquist has noted that the landscape he was a part of became an inspiration for his perspective on the world – the wide open prairie would often be home to large stretches of disjointed imagery. After settling in Minneapolis, he graduated high school there and attended the University of Minnesota.
2. He began his career painting billboards. Rosenquist worked for General Outdoor Advertising in Minneapolis following his graduation from college. In the early 1950s, billboards were all painted by hand, and he became well-trained in the process. Following his move to New York City in 1955, Rosenquist enrolled in the Art Students League and within a few years began professionally painting billboards once again. This experience proved to be a critical component of his work. He learned how to scale small images into large ones and to work the materials necessary for creating large murals.
3. He is considered a founder of the Pop Art movement. While in New York, Rosenquist began to paint large murals that incorporated the effects he had learned painting billboards and the techniques of commercial advertising. His paintings would juxtapose seemingly unrelated fragments into works that defy easy explanation but do pull in the viewer’s curiosity – chosen for their form and color, many of his subjects are all instantly recognizable (visit Rosenquist’s website for examples of his artwork.)
In Painting Below Zero, Rosenquist says that he “never cared for” the term Pop Art, explaining that the term “pop” lent itself to something unimportant or impermanent. Still, he became grouped with other artists from that era (Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein, for example) who were working with a similar set of tools. They all utilized popular American images in an ironic sense in their work and provided commentaries on the emergence of 1950s-era consumer culture. Rosenquist said that they should have been known as “antipop” artists. His breakthrough piece,F-111, offered a commentary on modern militarism through a mural that wrapped around the walls of the Castelli Gallery in New York. This was the beginning of a long period of critical success for his art.
4. He has received numerous accolades for his work which resides in collections across the world. Rosenquist has received a number of honorary doctorates and was appointed by Jimmy Carter to serve on the National Council on the Arts from 1978-1983. In 1987, he was named to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. His work has been shown throughout the world and has been collected by a number of museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, The National Gallery of Art, and many others. A retrospective of his work was shown by the Guggenheim in 2003.
5. He has maintained a successful career spanning five decades and continuing to this day. While tastes in visual art have changed, Rosenquist remains a relevant and in-demand painter. He continues to fulfill requests for commissions and continues to push forward with his art. An exhibition of new work, Time Blades, was shown at the Aquavella Galleries in 2007.
In April, 2009, a major fire destroyed Rosenquist’s home and studio in Aripeka, Fla., taking all of his work with it, including a first version of The North Dakota Mural. He immediately rebuilt his home and studio and began working again, completing commissions and continuing to inspire with his work even at age 77.
If you enjoyed the article please let Kris Kerzman know.  This was a wonderful job of quick efficient facts about James Rosenquist.

I did have the opportunity to meet and speak with him once at the Tampa Museum of art. He is a positive, engaging and generous man.  He gives back to Tampa and the communities that are near his Aripeka studio.  
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