Today, the Gagosian Beverly Hills debuts a solo exhibition of late pop artist Tom Wesselmann’s work, spanning two decades, 1963 through 1983. With many of these works being scattered around the globe including the Gagosian Gallery in New York, the rarity of such a coast-to-coast move makes this exhibition all the more exciting for the wide audiences that now, for the first time, have access to the artist’s masterpieces.
A red apple, a cigarette, a loaf of Wonder Bread—typical of Wesselmann’s work is his uncanny ability to portray American life without actually showing life in America. Instead, he redirects the focus to everyday objects that, despite being inanimate, provide a sense of the people using them and a wider cultural context they inhabit.
“I used what was around me, so my culture was what I used,” he once wrote, under his pseudonym Slim Stealingworth. “But I didn’t use it for cultural reasons—it was not a cultural comment.”
The American artist’s paintings are as visually stunning as they are contemplative, and his bright colors, clear lines and larger-than-life tableaux led a drastic departure from the Abstract Expressionism of the 1950’s—a leadership that, eventually, made Wesselmann an icon in the Pop Art movement and a beloved peer of Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Rosenquist. This latest exhibition features both pinnacle and rarely seen works created over a span of two decades, and gives insight into the development of the man behind the art.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in California, this homage to Pop Art is not to be missed.
Wesselmann: 1963-1983 is on display now at the Gagosian Beverly Hills.
View some of the works on display, below.