Still lives in 3D...

14:46

05/03/18 - With several large-scale canvases, the Gagosian Gallery in New York presented 9 huge works by artist Tom Wesselmann (USA, 1931-2004). They were made between 1967 and 1981 and they represent common objects, assembled randomly, forming structures that move forward or backward as visitors move around.

Still Life #60, by Tom Wesselmann (1973)
Technique: oil on canvas / Measures: 310.5 × 845.8 × 219.7 cm (six separate free-standing sections)
Still Life #60, by Tom Wesselmann
Back view
Placed as in the stage of a theatre, the illusion they create fades as we see the pieces from behind. Each group remains standing with the help of simple wooden structures. The exhibition also includes the drawings, sketches and mockups done in preparation, which allows us to have a glimpse of Wesselman's creative process.

Previous study for Still Life #60, by Tom Wesselmann
Each piece was painted with oil and they are all quite simple in shape, in some cases even monochromatic. According to the artist, they just want to point out the common aspects of the daily life of the American high classes. The exhibition is called "Tom Wesselmann: Standing Still Lifes" and, sure enough, it just displays the objects, without the presence of those that possesses them. For example, Still Life #60 shows the contents of a lady's purse, revealing an intimate side of that missing woman.
Still Life with Belt and Sneaker, by Tom Wesselmann (1979-1981)
Technique: oil on shaped canvases / Measures: 302,3 x 604,5 x 73,7 cm 
Tom Wesselmann, from "Tom Wesselmann: Standing Still Lifes"
The selection of products chosen by the artist are mostly used by women and represent what beauty meant in the 70s, those must-haves to be a perfect and desirable woman. He adds a car key and a burning cigarette, stigmas of the culture of that time.
Today,  although appealing, these objects look obsolete. It's their large scale what intimidate us, even if there's an aura of nostalgia: the time that went by and did not turn as we expected, or the reflection of the society of consumerism. Wesselmann enlarges each desired object.
Tom Wesselmann, by "Tom Wesselmann: Standing Still Lifes"
This is the first time all the pieces made between 1967 and 1981 are presented together. Only one of those is part of MoMA's collection. The others belong to the heir of the artist. The exhibition aims to attract the art market.

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Liliana Wrobel


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Carla Mitrani

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