MoMA Kids

Tom Wesselmann. Still Life #30. April 1963 13

Oil, enamel and acrylic on board with collage of printed advertisements, plastic flowers, refrigerator door, plastic replicas of 7-Up bottles, glazed and framed color reproduction, and stamped metal, 48 1/2 x 66 x 4" (122 x 167.5 x 10 cm). Gift of Philip Johnson. © Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Narrator: What if someone took a piece of your refrigerator and stuck it onto a picture in an art museum?! That’s what Tom Wesselman did! He made this kitchen by combining real objects, cutouts, and paint. The refrigerator door, the 7–Up bottles, the plastic flowers, the blue tin wall with the bumpy design, and the small, modern painting above the fridge – they’re all glued on. On the table, the packages and food are ads from magazines and newspapers. He cut them out and glued them on, too! Then he painted the rest of the picture, putting a skyscraper in the window to show that this home is supposed to be near New York City.

Wesselman’s kitchen is a collage – but he called it a still life, which means a bunch of objects grouped together. Many traditional still life paintings show fruits and vegetables on a table. But not packaged foods! Do you recognize any from your own kitchen?

Now try this game: Look hard at the things on the table and try to memorize as many as you can. Now, turn around so you can’t see the picture…. Don’t peek.

Okay, how many of the foods can you remember in ten seconds?

Ready! Set! Go!

Good! You can look again now. Unlike the raw meat there, that was very well done.

Sorry.

By the way, the painting hanging over the refrigerator here is not just any painting—it’s a copy of a picture by a very famous artist—Pablo Picasso!

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