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James Rosenquist Pop Art Movement


James Rosenquist started his art career painting giant billboards for advertisers during this period if the salesman didn’t like the colour shade used, he would make Rosenquist mix another shade, Rosenquist would then take what was remaining from the previous shade and use this to create abstract paintings.



Whilst creating these abstract painting he came up with the idea of that he could devise a new space from painting billboards for movie stars and objects, and he set upon the idea of using magnified imagery so the closer you were to the painting you wouldn’t recognise the object and it would be the last thing you see as you move further away, in creating this he hoped to drive the viewer mad from a visual point of view and this became his start into Pop art.



He would place an image on the painting but this would leave space for more images, then he came across the idea of overlaying images so you could see both images but leaving more area for more images. He wanted the work to describe something through imagery no one had tried doing that according to Rosenquist.



Rosenquist would use newspaper cutting of adverts and lay them juxtaposing each other allowing for the creation of very striking images, he would then replicate these into huge paintings and have different paintings within each area of the canvas.



President Elect depicts the time John F Kennedy was president. Using the media along with his good looks he became the first celebrity president. Kennedys image enraptures the idolism of celebrities, in keeping with pop art, combined with an advert for cake held by feminine hands and a magnified yellow Chevrolet help capture the consumer mentality.

Whilst the use of vibrant bright colours along with the paintings large scale, reflect the billboards and advertising of the time. The President Elect would become Rosenquist breakthrough work and he would then be linked as a pop artist although he didn’t perceive himself to be a pop artist.



F-111 was created for Rosenquist’s first solo show, he set out to create an art piece that would cover every inch of the four walls in Leo Castelli Gallery's main room in Manhattan. Creating its viewers field of vision to be lost within the mammoth work. Using twenty-three canvas panels and some aluminium sections, it covers an area of eighty-six feet in length.



America was going through one of its most unsettled decades in US history when Rosenquist created F-111, within the main body of the painting a F-111 fighter bomber spans the entire length of the painting. Whilst being surrounded and over lapped from photographs and adverting images collected by Rosenquist, using these images a mock-up of the final design would be created.



F-111’s design encapsulates consumerism, war and fear of a nuclear war, a beach umbrella depicting the atomic mushroom. The young girl’s hair dryer resembles a nuclear missile head, and she is the pilot. Firestone Tyre’s, lightbulbs and food images draw your eyes in so many different directions. The use of vibrant colours encapsulates Rosenquist. The plane is said to be flying through the perceived economy. The diver represent humanity gasping for air during an atomic holocaust.



After the suicide of Marilyn Monroe Rosenquist creates a tribute to painting Marilyn Monroe, within keeping of his art style, he fragments images of Marilyn Monroe and laying them out in an inverted and form. Taking Marilyn’s name and laying it over the images but only showing a portion of her name, leaving enough to make it identifiable to the viewer.

You can also see a partial Coca cola logo upside down running across the Marilyn name.

In doing so it is believed that Marilyn had become as iconic to America as Coke Cola was due her sex appeal, and how she became part of American culture.


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