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As the long-awaited "Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective" opens at the Cincinnati Art Museum, there is much to discuss about this native son’s controversial career as one of the original Pop artists. But the first thing to say is, “Wow!”

That was my response upon seeing what may be the show’s signature work, “Still Life No. 60,” from 1973. I already knew this work was big — almost 30 feet long and 10 feet high — and somewhat epic in its painted depiction of objects likely to be found on a woman’s bedside table (lipstick, sunglasses, matches, nail polish, a ring and more).

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 The Denver Art Museum is currently hosting the exhibition “Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective.” Tom Wesselmann, an American painter whose career spanned more than four decades, is widely regarded as one of the defining figures of Pop Art. Organized chronologically, “Beyond Pop Art” charts the evolution of Wesselman’s influential oeuvre.

The exhibition begins with Wesselman’s early abstract collages and moves to his well-known series, “The Great American Nude.”

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Friday, 03 January 2014 17:33

Cincinnati Art Museum’s Director Steps Down

After seven years as the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Aaron Betsky announced that he will step down as soon as a successor is named. During his time at the museum, Betsky increased the institution’s endowment by 18% and oversaw some of its most successful exhibitions. Betsky also led a $13-million fundraising campaign that supported the first phase of the museum’s renovation and expansion, which was completed this past spring. During his time at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Betsky also helped the institution acquire works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg and Tom Wesselmann.

Martha Ragland, the president of the museum’s board of trustees, released a statement saying, “It is remarkable what Aaron has been able to achieve for the Art Museum and the community. He has reinvigorated this venerable institution and opened it up for future generations. On behalf of the Board, staff and people of Cincinnati I’d like to thank him for all that he has done.”

The board has organized a search committee to find a replacement for Betsky, who will assist with the process. 

Published in News
Thursday, 31 March 2011 02:23

Tom Wesselmann Draws

Tom Wesselmann Draws is the most comprehensive exhibition of drawings by the artist that has ever been assembled. Many of the 108 works have never been seen outside the artist's studio in New York. In the 1960s, Tom Wesselmann was one the key leaders in the Pop Art Movement along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Robert Indiana. He was a brilliant colorist, superior draftsman and innovator of new techniques, who devoted his life to his art and his family.

The exhibition, which covers drawings from his entire career spanning 1959-2004, was originally curated in 2003 by Wesselmann and his wife Claire and encouraged by Emilio Steinberger, Director of the Haunch of Venison Gallery in New York. Wesselmann passed away in 2004 at the age of 73 and the show was put on hold. Five years later, Claire felt ready to revisit the project. “Working in collaboration with the Museum on the installation of the exhibition, his wife Claire will apply her own aesthetic sensibilities to capture the essence of her husband’s oeuvre,” says Greenberg. As stated by Aimee Walleston in the December 2009 issue of Art in America, “Claire Wesselmann is as alive as in Wesselmann’s drawings, with a keen intellect and a uniquely personal take on her husband’s practice.” 

“Some supporters have urged me to put together a drawing show because I have never had a major drawing show. The project interests me from another point of view in that I have made drawings in ways more adventurous than what many envision...The scope of the show will be to present a well edited selection of the best drawings available covering the full range of my varied production. I don't view the show as delineated by decades in any way, but as a continuity of drawings as they occurred...A show that will enlarge the common perception of what a drawing is to a surprising and rewarding degree.”  –Tom Wesselmann, New York City, 2003

The exhibition opened at Haunch of Venison in November 2009 and travelled to the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University in October 2010. The Kreeger Museum will complete the run of the show. The catalogue, Tom Wesselmann Draws, Haunch of Venison, New York, 2009 accompanies the exhibition.  Tom Wesselmann: His Voice and Vision by John Wilmerding, Rizzoli, 2008 will also be available.

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