Pop Places 1958–1966
Join us this fall for Pop Places 1958–1966, a series of mid-day talks, dedicated to a different key New York exhibition space of the era. The series’ overarching thesis is that what became known as Pop emerged from an array of sites, where artists, gallerists and critics collectively worked through and developed the forms, ideas and challenges that would later become identified with the movement. Pop did not simply burst forth simultaneously from the individual minds of a few artists (e.g. Wesselmann, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein, Warhol), and cannot be understood outside of the exhibition spaces that made it possible. These talks will focus on the downtown New York scene, while making connections to other important early Pop sites around the country and the world.
Two Men from Cincinnati: Tom Wesselmann’s 1962 Debut at The Green Gallery
with Susan Davidson
Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
Richard (Dick) Bellamy opened the Green Gallery on West 57th street in Fall 1960. The gallery’s first eighteen months experienced paltry sales. However, with the explosive arrival of Pop art in America, the gallery became a go-to-source for the “new” art. Tom Wesselmann’s gallery debut featured his Great American Nude and Still Life paintings that were swiftly snatched up by committed collectors as they vied for the artist’s latest artworks. This webinar draws on the author’s research for the forthcoming monograph devoted to the stylistic development and reception of Wesselmann’s most famous body of work, the Great American Nude series (1961–1969/73).
Curator and art historian Susan Davidson is an authority in the fields of Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art with an expertise in the art of Robert Rauschenberg. Ms. Davidson is also an accomplished museum professional with over thirty-year’s experience at two distinguished institutions: The Menil Collection, Houston, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and its constellation of museums. In 2018, Ms. Davidson established her eponymous firm that produces curatorial projects for international museums and galleries, works with artist’s foundations on building legacy, and provides collection management services for private collectors. Her current curatorial projects include a monograph on Tom Wesselmann’s Great American Nudes and a Robert Motherwell retrospective.
The Role of the Leo Castelli Gallery in the Advent of ‘Pop Art’
with Roberta Bernstein
Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
Leo Castelli established his gallery’s direction when it opened in the late 1950s by exhibiting the work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Their art marked a shift away from the prevailing mode of abstract expressionism by employing objects and signs from the everyday environment, popular culture, and the mass media. By the mid-1960s the Castelli Gallery was considered among the most influential “Pop Places,” exhibiting works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist along with that of Johns and Rauschenberg. Bernstein, who frequented the Castelli gallery after arriving in New York in 1966 as an art history graduate student examines the origins of the galley as center for the various directions of Pop, including her personal experiences.
Roberta Bernstein is recognized as the foremost scholar of the art of Jasper Johns. She is author and project director of the five-volume Jasper Johns: Catalogue Raisonné of Painting and Sculpture, including the comprehensive monograph, Jasper Johns: Redo an Eye, published by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute in 2017-18. Bernstein served as a consultant to the catalogue raisonné of drawings published by the Menil Collection. She has written and lectured extensively on Johns and other contemporary artists, including Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Marisol Escobar. In 2022, Bernstein was appointed a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor for her scholarship linking Johns’s art with French artists including Paul Cézanne and Marcel Duchamp. Bernstein is professor emeritus of art history at the University at Albany, State University of New York; she received her PhD from Columbia University.
Marisol and Warhol: 1960s Pop at The Stable Gallery and Beyond
with Jessica Beck
Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
The New York Pop movement in the early 1960s has historically been defined by an inner circle of successful white male artists whom the art critic Lucy Lippard dubbed “The New York Five:” Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann. What if we were to reimagine this history to include a woman named Marisol, whose exhibitions attracted thousands of visitors lined around the block; who was featured in Time, Vogue, Life and The New York Times; and who showed her works at the Museum of Modern art, Leo Castelli Gallery, Stable Gallery and Sidney Janis Gallery with an enviable amount of ease? What if this enigmatic artist also caught the eye of Andy Warhol and was the star of his earliest films before the ingénue Edie Sedgwick took up residence in front of his lens? Marisol was a central protagonist in this explosive moment in American art, whose talent and originality had a profound impact and whose influence deserves greater attention.
Jessica Beck serves as the Chief Curator at The Andy Warhol Museum and is a writer and scholar. She joined The Warhol as assistant curator in 2014 and has curated over twelve exhibitions during her tenure. Her most recent project Andy Warhol’s Social Network: Interview, Television, Portraits unpacks Warhol’s late-career, his keen business sensibility, and the overlaps between his portrait commissions, Interview and his television series Fashion, Warhol TV, and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.
Beck’s notable exhibitions include Marisol and Warhol Take New York, which opened at The Warhol in the fall of 2021 and traveled to the Pérez Art Museum Miami in the spring of 2022; Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body (2016); Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby (2018); and Kim Gordon: Lo-Fi Glamour (2019). Beck has published essays for the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cantor Center for the Arts, Gagosian Quarterly, and Burlington Magazine. In 2017 and 2018 she served as the visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. She is a featured expert in the documentary series The Andy Warhol Diaries now streaming on Netflix.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
Watch recording here
In the early 1960s, James Rosenquist was in all the right places. His first Pop art canvases were made at a studio on Coenties Slip, his first show at Green Gallery sold out in 1962, and Rosenquist was included in all the earliest Pop art shows in NYC and beyond. In 1964–65, energy was building around his latest and largest work to date, F-111. With curators, gallerists, and artists amassing at Rosenquist’s Broome Street studio to see the work progress, the big reveal of F-111 at Leo Castelli Gallery in the spring of 1965 was matched by an instantaneous international interest. By September, museum director Pontus Hultén was exhibiting the work at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. From there, the work went viral across Europe, a serendipitous journey that sent the work to Bern, Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, and beyond. In Europe, Moderna Museet proved to be a site of influence as strong as NYC, where the primordial soup of American Pop art was first stirred and tasted. This talk explores the people and places that fostered this nascent movement, with a nod to the European distribution and consumption of this dynamic movement.
Curator and art historian Sarah C. Bancroft is Executive Director of the James Rosenquist Foundation, and President of the Board of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation. Her curatorial projects include James Rosenquist: A Retrospective (Guggenheim Museum, 2003–2005), James Rosenquist: Illustrious Works on Paper, Illuminating Paintings (OSU Museum of Art, 2015–2016), Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series (Orange County Museum of Art, 2011–2012), Richard Diebenkorn (Royal Academy of Art, 2015), 2010 California Biennial (Orange County Museum of Art), and other projects.
Pop Art’s Roots: Three Experimental Places
with Melissa Rachleff
Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
Watch recording here
In 1990, the art critic David Bourdon told interviewers Billy Klüver and Julie Martin, “In the late fifties I was so interested in what was called Neo-Dada and junk art . . . Pop Art was a little afterthought. It was all this scrap stuff that was supposed to be the big movement. So, I was so amazed when Pop came along and demolished everything else.” Today, scholars are examining the precursors of Pop that so attracted Bourdon. There is vibrant interest in an art narrative that recognizes the aesthetic complexity of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Rachleff’s presentation explores Pop Art’s origins in assemblage and figuration. In “Pop Art’s Roots: Three Experimental Places,” Rachleff will discuss these short-lived galleries where the “Pop” sensibility emerged: Hansa Gallery (1952–1959), Reuben Gallery (1959–1961) and Green Gallery (1960–1965). Throughout the presentation Jean Follett (1917–1990), whose biography Rachleff is writing, will be presented as an artist who catalyzed the direct use of objects, an important precedent for the Pop generation.
Melissa Rachleff is a Clinical Professor in the Visual Arts Administration Program at NYU: Steinhardt, where she concentrates on the nonprofit sector. In 2017, she curated Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 for NYU Grey Art Gallery and wrote/edited the accompanying book, which is co-published by the Grey and Prestel Publishing. Melissa began her career as the assistant curator at Exit Art and co-curated exhibitions on the intersection of visual art and documentation. She has written about artist organizations for a variety of publications, and her essay, “Do It Yourself: A History of Alternatives” was published in Alternative Histories: New York Art Spaces (MIT Press) in 2012. For the fiftieth anniversary of 1968, Melissa curated Narrative & Counternarrative: (Re)Defining the Sixties for NYU’s Bobst Library, based on the school’s three main archive collections: Fales Library & Archive, Tamiment Library and the University’s archive.