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Happy Birthday, James Rosenquist!

  • Circles Of Confusion (detail), 1965
November 29, 2018
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

The artist who helped define the Pop Art movement, James Rosenquist is certainly one of the most intriguing artists of the second half of the 20th century. The pioneer of one of the most revolutionary movements of the century, he is famous for the appropriation of the advertising and mass media imagery and collaging and juxtaposing them in Surrealist fashion to create often abstract and provocative pieces with strong narratives. His works serve as a critique of the American consumerist society during the 1960s.

The artist died last year at his home after a long illness, at the age of 83. On the occasion of his death, the critic Jerry Saltz wrote:

Whatever he did, Rosenquist work appeared brand new back then as it does now. He influenced several generations of artists who looked to popular culture and employed other-than-art techniques.

On this day, the revolutionary artist would have turned 84. To commemorate his birthday, we bring you a selection of his works that you can own right now.

Featured image: Circles Of Confusion (detail), 1965. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.

  • James Rosenquist - Forehead II, 1968

Forehead II, 1968

Produced in 1968, the color lithograph titled Forehead II is a fine example of the artist’s practice of using abstracted familiar imagery from advertising and pop culture through adjustments in scale and irrational juxtapositions. This practice owes much debt to Surrealism. A recurring image of spaghetti is part of the artist’s visual narrative of American culture.

See more info about the work here.

  • Oxy, One Cent Life, 1964

Oxy, One Cent Life, 1964

The work Oxy is part of the famous One Cent Life portfolio from 1964. It is a collage-like print incorporating imagery from advertising and everyday objects in green, red yellow and blue, most notably part of a container of washing powder on which the word “NEW” can be seen above “Oxy”, part of the brand name. The artist abstracted most of the imagery with color and grey lines resembling graphite, making it unidentifiable.

See more info about the work here.

  • Communication Center, New York, NY, 1983

Communication Center, New York, NY, 1983

In the work Communication Center, New York, NY from 1983, Rosenquist depicts New York as the communications center of the world. It was created as part of the legendary New York, New York Portfolio of 1983 where leading artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Indiana, Larry Rivers, Robert Motherwell, R.B. Kitaj, were commissioned to create works that celebrate the city. This work, also titled New York Says It, is perhaps, surprisingly, the most abstract of these evocations of the city.

See more info about the work here.

  • Above (From the Myth and Technology Series of 7 works), 1981

Above (From the Myth and Technology Series of 7 works), 1981

Titled Above, the present lithograph is part of the 1981 The Myth and Technology C series comprised of 7 works. Over the past four decades, James Rosenquist’s work has reflected the world in which we live. In this series, the artist expresses his fascination and curiosity about the cosmos, technology, and scientific theory.

See more info about the work here.

  • Somewhere to Light, 1966

Somewhere to Light, 1966

Created in 1966, Somewhere to Light was part of the celebrated New York International portfolio curated by Rosa Esman, which featured prints by nine other important international artists of the era, including Arman, Mary Bauermeister, Öyvind Fahlström, John Goodyear, Charles Hinman, Allen Jones, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, and Saul Steinberg. Many impressions of this striking stunning screenprint are in the permanent collections of major institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum.

See more info about the work here.

  • Circles Of Confusion, 1965

Circles Of Confusion, 1965

The piece Circles of Confusion from 1965 is part of the 11 Pop Artists, Volume I portfolio which features artists such as Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Allan D’Arcangelo, Jim Dine, and Peter Phillips. The abstract imagery is executed in a soft color palette. Upon closer inspection, the artist can see the logo of General Electrics scattered among the blurry circles.

See more info about the work here.

  • F-111 (South, West, North, East), 1977

F-111 (South, West, North, East), 1977

These lithographs are based on a painting from 1964-65, also tiled F-111, which earned Rosenquist an international recognition. A modern-day history painting of 86 feet in length, it was considered by many as an antiwar statement. which many consider an antiwar statement. In this work, the artist fuses pictures of American prosperity with a darker visual current.

See more info about the work here.