Wesselmann’s enduring subject is the nude but he was no sexist
The exhibition entitled “Beauty if the promise of happiness”, dedicated to artist Tom Wesselmann, a leading figure of the American Pop Art, is now open to the public at Villa Paloma, Nouveau Musee National de Monaco, until January 6, 2019.
(Photo insert: Tom Wesselmann, March 1962 @The Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, NY)
This exposition is not a retrospective, but is rather focused on the artist’s portrayal of women, something that has been the object of controversy for his so-called dehumanization or sexism, offering instead a finely shaded opinion of the rapport between the artist and the feminine subject.
It is a fact that Wesselmann chose the nude as his enduring subject, permeating his work with an overt sexuality, but the women in his life, his daughter Kate, his wife Claire, and his model and assistant Monica Serra affirm he was not a sexist. To that effect I would like to quote Monica Serra who affirmed: “Wesselmann had a fascination with women in a way I’ve never seen in a guy before… The reverence was so big. Almost like they had magic, you know? I was just very earthy but he thought of me as ethereal – something special. He appears to be some sort of misogynist or womaniser, when the opposite is true.”
The exhibition’s curator, Chris Sharp, has gathered 25 paintings, designs and sculptures produced during a period of 30 years that go between 1963 and 1993. Some of the artworks come from a series from the artist such as Great American Nudes, Bedroom Paintings, Seascapes or even Still Life. A guided visit by Chris Sharp himself will take place on Sunday, July 1 at 16:00. Entrance is free of charge on Sundays.
Tom Wesselmann’s is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable 20thcentury artists. He came to fame in the 1960s, and his style blends contemporary images and pop culture with a rather classical rendition.
Attention on Wesselmann’s work has grown in recent years with exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York and now in the Principality of Monaco. An exhibition not to be missed!
“I don’t depict nudes from any sociological, cultural, or emotional intentions. My one intention is to always find new ways to make exciting paintings using the situation of the traditional nude.”Tom Wesselmann