Wesselmann Oral Histories
The Wildenstein Plattner Institute’s (WPI’s) Tom Wesselmann Oral History Series accompanies its forthcoming Tom Wesselmann Digital Catalogue Raisonné. It explores the artist’s life and work in full, from his working process to his scholarly and institutional reception, and from his connections with dealers, gallerists and collectors to his engagement with models, studio assistants and fabricators. The oral histories facilitate a deeper exploration of questions raised during the catalogue raisonné research process and beyond. Through semi-structured interviews between Huffa Frobes-Cross, WPI’s Tom Wesselmann Catalogue Raisonné Project Manager, and various notable interviewees with living memory of Wesselmann, these oral histories supplement our knowledge of Wesselmann and illuminate his work in exciting, provocative new ways.
Jeffrey Sturges is the current Director of Exhibitions for the Estate of Tom Wesselmann. He first worked as a studio assistant for Tom Wesselmann in the 1990s, taking time in between to explore the gallery world and his burgeoning interest in photography, and returned in 2004 just prior to after the artist’s death. Highlights of the interview include discussions of Sturges’ early experiences in Wesselmann’s studio and his first encounters with Wesselmann’s art, the transition from a working studio to an estate, stylistic and symbolic interpretations of Wesselmann’s work, and the unique nature of Wesselmann’s record keeping and titling practices.
KEYWORDS: 20th century art, abstract expressionism, art critiques, artists’ estates, artists’ studios, assemblage, Claire Wesselmann, collage, dimensionality, exhibitions, Great American Nude, Green Gallery, modern art, Pop Art, retrospectives, Robert Rauschenberg, Sidney Janis Gallery, Still Life series, Tom Wesselmann