Must See Art: Tom Wesselmann at Gagosian Beverly Hills

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‘Still Life #29,’ 1963, Oil and printed paper collaged on canvas, 9′ x 12′, ©Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

 

This Thursday, Gagosian Beverly Hills will be launching a solo exhibition of rare works by Pop Art notable Tom Wesselmann. Wesselmann: 1963-1983 will feature seven pieces created by the artist, none of which have ever been shown on the West Coast. On view until August, the exhibition will showcase the commercial billboards Wesselmann began painting in 1962.

 

‘Still Life #61,’ 1976, Oil on shaped canvas in 4 parts, 8’8.5″ x 32’7″ x 6’7″, ©Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

 

Born in Cincinnati in 1931, Wesselmann was an influential figure in the Pop Art world, with his massive paintings that recontextualized images from popular culture, like the Volkswagen Beetle seen in ‘Still Life #29.’

“I used what was around me, so my culture was what I used,” he once said about his work.

Part of ‘The Standing Still Lifes’ series, the seven works in Wesselmann: 1963-1983 were a highlight in the artist’s long career. Comprised of multiple canvases shaped like the objects they depict and mounted on both the wall and the ground, the pieces are three-dimensional scenescapes that pull you into their world. Known primarily for his work that showcases the female figure, these paintings incorporate everyday objects in exaggerated sizes, exploring sexuality and surrealism in an emotional and experimental way.

 

‘Still Life with Blue Jar and Smoking Cigarette,’ 1981, Oil on shaped canvas in 4 parts, 9′ x 18’5″ x 5’6″, ©Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

 

“Wesselmann is an artist well known for his forthright and original standpoint on sexuality,” explains Jason Ysenburg, Director at Gagosian, “but that is only a part of his story. In the ‘Still Lifes,’ ‘Standing Still Lifes’ and ‘Bedroom Paintings,’ we are offered a glimpse into an enchanted world where scale, content and the juxtaposition of materials and images is surprising and innovative,” he continues. “What transpires are a group of paintings where sexuality is often implied rather than overtly expressed.”

Since his death in 2004, Wesselmann’s work has become only more sought after, and has been included in multiple exhibitions at The Whitney and MoMA. This latest exhibition follows another recent showcase, Tom Wesselmann: Standing Still Lifes at Gagosian in New York.

 

Wesselmann: 1963-1983 is on view from July 12 to August 24 at Gagosian Beverly Hills.

 

Photos: ‘Still Life #29’ by Jeffrey Sturges; ‘Still Life #61’ & ‘Still Life with Blue Jar and Smoking Cigarette’ by Rob McKeever; all courtesy the Estate of Tom Wesselmann and Gagosian

Meet the Artist Behind the Color Matching Collages on Miu Miu’s Instagram

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If you’ve been following NYFW, chances are you’ve been refreshing your feed every two minutes. There’s one brand that offers more than runway shows and prep shots and that’s Miu Miu. Here you’ll find the fantastical color matching collages created by mixed media artist Beth Hoeckel. Produced exclusively for Miu Miu’s Instagram feed, Beth assembled an assortment of treasures to best suit pieces from their accessory collection in a reimagined way.

For example, seashells, pink frosted birthday cake, toast with jam and a strawberry daiquiri surround a new eco-shearling bag in coral. Additionally, cherries, a floppy disk, a fire extinguisher, and lifesavers come together to float around Miu Miu’s new Automne ’16 backpack for a most playful digital display.

Beth’s work extends passed fashion and moves across many editorial platforms including stories from publishing heavy weights like Conde Nast and Penguin Random House. With a new book in the works and an exhibition this fall, I was curious to learn more about her inspiration and background.

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How did you become interested in mixed media?

I started experimenting with mixed media techniques quite a bit in high school. I went to an arts magnet high school and mainly focused on painting and photography, and wanted to try combining the two. It also partly came from not being able to afford expensive art materials, and subsequently using whatever was around. I was very drawn to collage and mixed media artists like Robert Rauchenberg and Joseph Cornell. In addition to all that I’ve collected old books and photographs since back then and loved using those elements.

Where do you like to pull images from?

It all comes from vintage books and magazines, or any old printed material. My favorite era of National Geographics are from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, I love old cook books with color photographs and random sewing and craft catalogs.

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What do you love about communicating with collage?

I love the familiarity of the found images in contrast with the surreal nature of the context I place them in. In that way it can be very relatable. In some ways I think it more readily allows viewers to draw from their own memories and experiences to construct a narrative than some other art forms.

Is there a particular thought you are projecting with your work?

There are several themes. Memory, nostalgia, being lost, getting lost, loss in general, bygone eras and their ideals, hope, longing, and daydreams.

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How did living in New York shape your work?

I moved there in 2001 right after graduating from SAIC (Chicago), I was only 21 and it was right after Sept 11 so it was a strange time. It was a struggle to say the least, I had to work a lot of jobs to pay the bills so I barely had time and definitely didn’t have space to make art. I tried to find ways to make money off of my work so I made cards and t-shirts and sold them to shops on Bedford and even sold them by myself on the streets on occasion.

Where do you find your inspiration?

In music from PJ Harvey, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Rimbaud, Paul Bowles- to be honest the book The Sheltering Sky has influenced many of my works over the years.

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Discover more work from Beth Hoeckel here.