Collection 1940s–1970s

Tom Wesselmann. Still Life #57. 1969-70 456

Oil on canvas and base of acrylic paint on carpet, in six sections, Overall 10' 3 1/8" x 16' 2 7/8" x 6' (312.5 x 495 x 182.8 cm). Gift of the artist. © Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Curator, Sarah Suzuki: To me there's no question that the most shocking thing about Still Life #57 is its scale. It transforms me as a viewer into a tiny dweller in this enormous tabletop landscape,

It takes these objects that you might handle in your everyday life, whether that’s an orange or flicking on the light switch, and turning it into something really strange and unfamiliar. It really makes me think differently about how I interact with objects every day and my place in the world.

Here’s Tom Wesselmann in an interview from 1984:

Artist, Tom Wesslemann: Historically still life has a certain reality and scaled to real life generally. It's as though you are literally looking at the real thing only in painted version. But when you paint real big you're throwing away that whole pretense. To do it that size transformed it into a whole different existence.

0:00
23 / 39