James Rosenquist

Jun 19, 2017 at 14:27 o\clock

Institute of Russian Realist Art

Way outside the city center of Moscow sits a rather modest museum that contains one of the best collections of the Russian realist school of painting of the 20th century. The museum is known as the Institute of Russian Realist Art (IRRA) and it houses three floors of exhibition space, totaling over 4,500 square meters, with approximately 500 works of Russian and Soviet art. The collection begins with Soviet Realism and ends with contemporary work from artists living today. It is an interesting collection that chronicles Russia’s political history with Stalin’s propaganda art, the Great Patriotic War and Khrushchev’s “thaw.” This fabulous collection shows us how these Russian artists interpreted the world in which they lived. 

Soviet Painting from the 1900s to 1960s

This section of the display is devoted to artists active in the first half and middle of the 20th century. Their painting displays unfettered creative endeavor and a figurative, object-centered artistic vision. The style of many of these artists took form well before the revolution; their art is rooted in the traditions of 19th-century painting. The collection of the Institute of Russian Realist Art (IRRA) includes works by outstanding members of the Moscow school of painting such as Arkady Plastov (1893-1972), Sergei Gerasimov (1885-1964), Igor Grabar (1871-1960), Alexander Deineka (1899-1969) and Vasily Svarog (1883-1946), as well as canvases by artists of the St. Petersburg school, such as Ilya Repin’s pupils Isaak Brodsky (1883-1939) and Gavriil Gorelov (1880-1966), and other well-known masters.

The works of Sergei Gerasimov reveal his talent as a Russian Impressionist. Gerasimov’s portraits of his wife and of the artist Vasily Pochitalov, as well as his views of Mozhaisk and the Luzhnetsky Monastery, display different facets of the great painter’s art. A graduate of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Arkady Plastov retained a lasting fondness for country views and the rural way of life. His “Village in March, Sheep Grazing”(a version of the well-known work “After the Fascist Air Raid”), and “Summer. New Roof” clearly demonstrate Plastov’s talent as a painter. In the same room viewers will find the landscapes “Birches” and “House Corner in Winter” by another representative of the Moscow school, the Impressionist Igor Grabar. Also here is Vasily Svarog’s “Voroshilov and Gorky at the Red Army Central House Shooting Gallery”, a popular Soviet painting of the 1930s.

Read more on https://musings-on-art.org/institute-of-russian-realist-art

Jun 7, 2017 at 21:17 o\clock

James Rosenquist

by: musingsonart   Keywords: literature, art

I've Looked at Pop From Both Sides Now . . .

The painter James Rosenquist died last month.  I’ve become reacquainted with his work this year thanks to SFMOMA.  I serve as a tour guide a few times a month there and every so often I often find myself sitting on the gallery floor with a bunch of elementary school kids in front of Rosenquist’s massive painting A Leaky Ride for Dr. Leaky.  The painting is a bold mix of images and colors drawn from classic advertising tropes and woven together with the sure hand of the sign painter, which Rosenquist was before turning to studio art.  The brash and bright colors are part of that crazy Pop sensibility— a nice flat rock in the art historical stepping stones that seem to link abstract expressionism and post-modernism.  

Though one cannot deny its conceptual importance, I’ve never much cared for Pop Art visually, be it Warhol, Rosenquist or Roy Lichtenstein who painted those Ben-Day dots with such loving attention. 

It could be because, like many others, I already feel oppressed by corporate advertising and its ugly ubiquity in American culture. I’m not particularly drawn to looking at more of it. My views are perhaps more in line with writer Peter Schjeldahl’s description of Pop Art: 

 “The goal in all cases was to fuse painting aesthetics with the semiotics of media-drenched contemporary reality. The naked efficiency of anti-personal artmaking defines classic Pop. It’s as if someone were inviting you to inspect the fist with which he simultaneously punches you.” 

 Unfortunately, this punch-in-the- face approach to advertising has only intensified since Pop’s heyday.  Perhaps it comes from my experience working on land use and urban planning, but I hold particular disdain for the way corporate advertising now plasters our once shared and ad-free public spaces like bus shelters and public transit stations. A few days after reading about James Rosenquist’s death I found myself on the wrong side of a Muni bus headed to my studio in the southern part of the city. I say wrong side because it was the slightly dim, colorless side of the bus where not only the bus, but also the windows are wrapped by advertising.

Staring out the window, I felt like I had crossed a new and disturbing threshold in the corporate media drenched culture.  I was no longer outside in the “real” world looking at (or trying to avoid looking at) the advertisements. I was now stuck inside a giant rolling advertisement trying to look at the world.  Instead my view was obscured by so many grey Ben-Day dots, it was hard to know what I was looking at.  A sad day for daydreaming through the bus window. A sad day for the ad-free commons.  But maybe a good day for artists. . .  

The whole article on https://musings-on-art.org/james-rosenquist