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Pop artists absorbed and borrowed from popular culture, challenging notions of originality and what it means to be an artist.

Still Life #30

Tom Wesselmann
(American, 1931–2004)

1963. Oil, enamel and synthetic polymer paint on composition 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)

Still Life #30 is a large still-life composed of a table laden with images of fresh and packaged food, balanced by a pink refrigerator door, replica 7-Up bottles, and a window with a view to the city. Wesselmann remarked, “This kind of relationship helps establish a momentum throughout the picture… At first glance my pictures seem well behaved, as if—that is a still life, O.K. But these things have such crazy give-and-take that I feel they get really very wild.”1

This work is one in a series of still-lifes featuring images cut out from magazines, then collaged directly onto the surface of his paintings. He composed with an eye towards the combination of objects, colors and textures. A painter, sculptor, and printmaker, Wesselmann never embraced the label of Pop artist. He said that he chose to depict everyday objects for their aesthetic qualities, not to make any cultural critiques.

Interview with G. Swenson, ARTnews, 1964, p. 44

One who applies paint to canvas, wood, paper, or another support to produce a picture.

A work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or another support (noun).

A representation of inanimate objects, as a painting of a bowl of fruit.

A copy or reproduction.

A term describing a wide variety of techniques used to produce multiple copies of an original design. Also, the resulting text or image made by applying inked characters, plates, blocks, or stamps to a support such as paper or fabric.

A movement composed of initially British, then American artists in the 1950s and 1960s, which was characterized by references to imagery and products from popular culture, media, and advertising.

The arrangement of the individual elements within a work of art so as to form a unified whole; also used to refer to a work of art, music, or literature, or its structure or organization.

The technique and resulting work of art in which fragments of paper and other materials are arranged and glued to a supporting surface.

Relating to or characterized by a concern with beauty or good taste (adjective); a particular taste or approach to the visual qualities of an object (noun).

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Still Life #30

Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931–2004)