Tom Wesselmann at Forum
Post #1139 • March 12, 2008, 12:29 PM • 79 Comments
Los Angeles - Tom Wesselmann represents some of the more tiresome aspects of Pop: its decorativeness, its lightness, its lack of visual pressure. Wesselman didn't even mobilize Pop's cultural critique - he really liked all that T&A, from the looks of it, right down to the tan lines. Some of his quirks downright grate on the eye. His sketchy, back-and-forth scribbles, once translated into serigraphy, turn as chilly as surgical steel. His rendering of nipples reminds me above all of Devo's stage wear. But who knew? Wesselmann had a process, and some of the little watermedia studies currently up at Forum redeem him a bit, especially his 1981 Study for Drop Out and the 1973 Smoker Study. A cut paper maquette for one of his sculptures indicates what he might have accomplished if he permitted some hand to remain in his final work. That didn't interest him, though, leaving him to his fat, worm-like line and prismatic palette. One 1993 silkscreen quotes Leger, and the hommage outperforms everything else in the room. Wesselmann could have used some of those dark neutrals and variations of line. Or, perhaps, he couldn't.