Tom Wesselmann’s Painted Seduction

THE DAILY PIC: At Mitchell-Innes & Nash, his Pop art is about more than product.

Smoker #14, 1974

Smoker #14, 1974

THE DAILY PIC (#1543): A lot of the best Pop art was as much presentational as representational. It was about pointing at things in the world (“ostension,” my current favorite term) rather than how seductively those things might be portrayed as art. From the beginning, the paintings of Tom Wesselmann were a bit of an exception to that rule, as is clear in the little survey now on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery in New York. His pictures are always complex visual experiments, and by the time of this 1974 piece, called Smoker #14, the complexity soars – as it had to, given that the presentational aims of Pop art were already old hat. Seen up-close and personal, especially, this eye-filling painting is as much about the seductions of color on a shaped canvas as it is about the seductions of a pair of red lips. (Courtesy Mitchell-Innes & Nash)

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