The retrospective Tom Wesselmann: Beyond Pop Art, on now in a Canadian exclusive at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through Oct. 7, 2012, is the first time this influential artist has had a major exhibition, despite his huge impact and widespread public recognition.
The New York artist (1931-2004) was famous from the early 1960s for his Great American Nudes and Still Lifes. Wesselmann, along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, invented the “Pop” aesthetic.
Wesselmann decided very early in his career to investigate and reinvent traditional genres like the nude, still life and landscape, considered moribund at the time. Beginning with collages, he incorporated all sorts of materials in his work: advertising billboards, plastic flowers, television sets and neon signs as well as reproductions of paintings he liked.
The exhibit has 180 major works, some never before exhibited, including Wesselmann’s earliest metal pieces (using laser steel-cutting), preliminary drawings and maquettes and archival documents (photographs, letters, billboards, etc).
More about the artist, here.