Tom Wesselmann: Beyond Pop


April 30, 2012 - Tom Wesselmann, along with fellow American artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, make up the three cornerstones of American Pop Art. But, contrary to the latter two, since his death Tom has never had a major exhibition dedicated solely to his work, even though he died in 2004. With the blessing and support of the artist’s estate, this deficiency has now been remedied with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts upcoming exhibition, Tom Wesselmann: Beyond Pop.

Running from May 18 to October 7, 2012, this exclusively Canadian exhibition brings together no less than 150 of the artist’s works, including many large-scale pieces. In addition to dazzling visitors with Wesselmann’s intensely colourful canvases, the exhibition also helps them learn about his creative process by putting the artist’s drawings and other preliminary models on display.

This Cincinnati-born artist, well-known for his Great American Nude and Still Life series, created his own niche in the American Pop Art movement by developing a distinctive aesthetic approach featuring daring feminine nudes, many with accentuated mouth, nipples and pubic hair. Other distinctive works include collages with sly historical references, and still lifes inspired by ad-like images or Matisse, whose work plainly influenced Wesselmann’s.

A versatile artist, Wesselmann also wrote and composed country music, producing several hundred songs in all, many of which were recorded by well-known artists of that genre. In fact, one of them appears on the soundtrack to Brokeback Mountain. Visitors to the exhibition will also have the opportunity to discover that particular facet of Wesselmann’s talent.