James Rosenquist's paintings, with their billboard-sized images of commercial subjects, are utterly emblematic of 1960s Pop Art. Their provocative imagery also touches on some of the major political and historical events of that turbulent decade—from the Kennedy assassination to the war in Vietnam. In the first full-length scholarly examination of Rosenquist's art from that period, Michael Lobel weaves together close visual analysis, a wealth of archival research, and a consideration of the social and historical contexts in which these paintings were produced to offer bold new readings of a body of work that helped redefine art in the 1960s. Bringing together a range of approaches, James Rosenquist provides a compelling perspective on the artist and on the burgeoning consumer culture of postwar America.
Michael Lobel is Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the M.A. Program in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism, and Theory at Purchase College, State University of New York.
"This is the social history of art at its best."—Alex Potts, author of The Sculptural Imagination: Figurative, Modernist, Minimalist
"James Rosenquist: Pop Art, Politics, and History in the 1960s provides a new perspective on the work of Rosenquist, a key but neglected artist of the Pop Art movement. Michael Lobel, who bases his study on detailed contextual research as well as close visual analysis, highlights the themes of obsolescence, novelty, and ephemera in Rosenquist's images and effectively relates the artist's interests to broader questions of consumer culture and urban planning in 1960s New York. Clearly written and thoroughly engaging, this book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the artist and of Pop Art."—Cécile Whiting, author of Pop L.A.