The Unsung King of Pop Art

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A new show at the Judd Foundation in New York shines light on its founder’s peer and friend, James Rosenquist. Initially a billboard painter by trade, Rosenquist was respected by Donald Judd for his ability to modernize Cubism and create a new movement, now known as Pop Art. On display on the ground floor of the 101 Spring Street gallery space, the exhibit features art from Rosenquist’s personal collection including a thirty-five foot painting titled “Time Dust–Black Hole,” and two canvases from the 1960s called “Yellow Applause,” and “Shadows.” Three pieces from Judd’s furniture collection are displayed alongside Rosenquist’s art, reflective of the duo’s close relationship which was formed during the sixties when they both had studios in downtown Manhattan.

The focus of multiple critical essays by Judd in-between 1959 and 1975, Rosenquist may not be a household name in the same way as fellow pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, but he was held in high esteem by his peers. “There is a light, existential quality to Rosenquist’s work which is interesting, more so than the Cubist means responsible for it,” wrote Judd in 1963. “There is never any possibility of Rosenquist’s paintings being mistaken for billboards, however, as Lichstenstein’s paintings are mistaken for comics. The conspicuous fragmentation of the various subjects is immediately recognizable as art.”

The work of James Rosenquist will be on show at the Judd Foundation on 101 Spring Street in New York from now until August 6, 2016.

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