The Wildenstein Plattner Institute’s (WPI’s) Tom Wesselmann Oral History Series accompanies its forthcoming Tom Wesselmann Digital Catalogue Raisonné.
Carroll Janis is the son of acclaimed gallerist Sidney Janis. He helped organize many of the Janis Gallery’s most significant shows of the twentieth century, and took over management of the gallery after his father’s passing in 1989. He maintained close connections with many Pop artists, including Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg, and James Rosenquist. Highlights of the interview include discussions of the gallery’s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop, detailed descriptions of the Janis Gallery’s operations, and thoughts on the art historical legacy of Wesselmann.
KEYWORDS: modernism, Tom Wesselmann, Abstract Expressionism, art market, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann, Arshile Gorky, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Pop Art, Sidney Janis Gallery, Green Gallery, New Realists, erotic art, Great American Nudes
Monica Serra is a painter, multimedia artist, and singer/songwriter. She collaborated with Tom Wesselmann as a model, then joined Wesselmann’s studio as a studio assistant and went on to become the studio manager. Since Wesselmann’s death in 2004, she has been an integral part of the Estate of Tom Wesselmann, continuing to preserve and advocate for the works and legacy of the artist. Monica’s oral history examines her close working relationship with Wesselmann, the experience of viewing herself in his works, and themes of gender and representation.
KEYWORDS: modeling, drawing, gender, studio practice, nude portraiture, Tom Wesselmann, Henri Matisse, metal sculptures, Candy Spilner, Allan Rubin, country music, songwriting, art criticism, Smoker series, Great American Nudes
Constance W. Glenn is an acclaimed art historian, curator, writer, and collector. She is the founding director of the University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach, where she also established the Graduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies and taught courses in art history and museum studies. Since the 1960s, she has been an avid collector with a particular interest in Pop Art and the works of Tom Wesselmann. Highlights of the interview include descriptions of the burgeoning Kansas City art scene in the 1960s, trends in Glenn’s history as an art collector, memories of her relationship with Tom and Claire Wesselmann, and thoughts on the unique and lasting nature of Wesselmann’s works.
KEYWORDS: Pop Art, Tom Wesselmann, 20th century art, modern art, Jack Glenn, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, California State University Long Beach, Claire Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Merce Cunningham, Susan Buckwalter, Peter Brant, art collectors, art dealers, Ivan Karp, Leo Castelli, Sidney Janis, Art in America, Great American Nude, Postwar American art, Neo-avant-garde, Larry Rivers, Virginia Dwan, Dwan Gallery, Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning, John Weber, Ted Coe
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