James Rosenquist pioneered in pop art movement by narrating craftsmanship into his oeuvres made a 20th-century intriguing artist; known as one of the best ambassadors and inspiring symbol of American Art alongside other famous contemporaries like Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein. Rosenquist conceptual demonstration and outstanding articulation made him a prominent figure of the genre, widely acclaimed for his distinctive style drawn from commercial art deeply influenced his career practicing techniques, and depiction of everyday object and imagery constituting surrealism and accentuating the prodigious nature of pieces of advertisement and cultural images in oddly combined manner for the presentation of social and political issues.
James Rosenquist was born in North Dakota on November 29, 1933, to a Swedish origin family. He was encouraged by his mother to pursue artistic interests, studied at Minneapolis School of Art and entered into painting cadre at the University of Minnesota. Art Students League scholarship leads him to move to New York changed him to study under teachers like George Grosz and Edwin Dickinson, explaining his learning course, the painter said that he studied with abstract and commercial artists and was ambitious to learn painting the Sistine Chapel. He earned his livelihood as billboard painter around Time Square which he abandoned due to the incident of coworker’s death during the job.
Instead of working on popular imagery, Rosenquist specifies his process of amplifying the billboard-style on smaller canvases, utilizing the visual language of advertisement into his artistries dragged the emerging painter to reconsider his signature style and techniques. The Zone functioned as the foundation stone in James Rosenquist artwork and served as a shift from his old work due to the exhaustion of abstract expressionism, the artwork characterizes as the inclusion into the pop art movement setting a course and inspiration that artist took from mass media and appropriation of such methodology and popular orientations framed him as a key figure in development of Pop Art by dedication and distinctiveness which last till the end of his career.James Rosenquist “President-Elect” was one of the most widely acclaimed pieces during early sixties, translating a portrait of John F Kennedy as a symbol of prosperous America alongside the depiction of growth with back of Chevrolet and overlaid picture of hand holding cake, icons in pop culture to testify the association between the consumer and advertisement symbolizes the popularity and iconography in politics, mass media and to mesmerize a sense of modern life. In 1962, he had quite successful first solo exhibition at Green Gallery in New York and involved in all revolutionary group exhibitions that repute pop art as a movement.
James Rosenquist F-111 was the most iconic work exhibited at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1965 with his huge mural painting as the most ambitious work in his collection. The piece was originally created to cover all four walls of the gallery without any visual relief, portraying and questioning the role of marketing and coverage of Vietnam War, displaying a plane fly through consumer society colliding with interest and destruction at either end. The huge mural painting contrasts with commercial imagery showing tires, light bulbs, bubbles spaghettis, and a girl under hair dryer expose the framework of F-111 fighter jet patterned to draw viewer’s attention to relating the intensity of the relationship between consumer economics and military valour.
During the early seventies, James Rosenquist was suffered from emotional and psychological damage due to the accident of his wife and son, for a couple of years. His work was organized by Whitney Museum of American Art and following years he became politically active for better legislation for artist’s rights and protesting Vietnam War. Rosenquist paintings created during that decade mirrored the political issues, modern innovations and their drastic incompatible association with nature. Recognition and fame of the questioning artist continues to grow, Rosenquist admitted to the American Academy and Institute of Art and Letters in 1987; throughout the next decade he created large scale print and was subject of major retrospective exhibitions, “Time Dust” considered to be the largest print in the world and “The Swimmer in the Econo-mist” was widely acclaimed.
James Rosenquist paintings validate a persistent interest that lingers to amaze audiences and influence the coming generations of artist. His work indicates to the cultural and political themes conveying the impression and opinions about advertisement and mass media utilizing visual language later termed as visual poetry.
Rosenquist innovative techniques at the time politically and socially issue and concepts relate to the contemporary movement meant to visualize artwork as a portion in human activity. Rosenquist honoured with Golden Plate Award from American Academy of Achievement and International Award for Art by Fundacion Cristobal Gabarron. His works are held in the collection of major public and private institutions the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington. After a long illness on March 31, 2017, he died at the age of 83.
James Rosenquist Documentary, Artworks