Check out our new video featuring mixed media works by legendary pop artist Tom Wesselmann in the show titled "Intimate Spaces" at Gagosian, Beverly Hills.
Gagosian, Beverly Hills
May 3–June 16, 2023
My one intention is to always find new ways to make exciting paintings using the situation of the traditional nude.
Gagosian is pleased to present Tom Wesselmann: Intimate Spaces, an exhibition of paintings of nudes by Tom Wesselmann. Following the 2018 exhibition Wesselmann: 1963–1983 at Gagosian, Beverly Hills, and Tom Wesselmann: Standing Still Lifes at Gagosian, New York, the same year, Intimate Spaces is organized in collaboration with the Estate of Tom Wesselmann. The exhibition includes a number of important works held by the artist’s estate, including key examples recognized as the pinnacle of their respective series.
A defining artist of US Pop art, Wesselmann produced innovative mixed-media paintings that brought the energy of commercial culture to still lifes, interiors, landscapes, and nudes. The exhibition concentrates on the artist’s primary subject, the female nude, with key works from Great American Nudes (1961–73) and subsequent series. With a nod to both the great American novel and the American dream, the title of Great American Nudes also refers to Wesselmann’s affinity for the scale of Abstract Expressionist paintings, billboards, and movie screens. Inspired by Henri Matisse’s odalisques, Wesselmann employed a saturated palette, clearly defined contours, and interlocking positive and negative shapes. The paintings are set in domestic interiors and often incorporate collage and assemblage elements, appearing highly contemporary in their provocative discontinuities of style.
Wesselmann’s nudes became icons of the 1960s sexual revolution. Wishing to avoid portraiture, the artist frequently deemphasized facial features, foregrounding both abstraction and overt eroticism. “The figures dealt primarily with their presence,” he wrote (as his pseudonym, Slim Stealingworth). “Personality would interfere with the bluntness of the fact of the nude. When body features were included, they were those important to erotic simplification, like lips and nipples. There was no modelling, no hint at dimension.”
The show is on view until June 16th. Follow us and subscribe to watch more videos from the LA Art world and beyond.