Published by Fondazione Prada. Text by Germano Celant.
Over the course of 40 years, New York-based Pop painter John Wesley has created a singular body of work with a cast of characters including Dagwood Bumstead, birds and bears all rendered in the same flat sky blue, flesh beige and candy pink palette. Employing a comic strip style and a compositional rigor, Wesley makes warm, sexy paintings with a frequent twist of the bizarre. "When post-global-warming anthropologists begin paddling through the streets of Manhattan in search of visible evidence that this republic was... the cosmopolitan democracy that it purported to be," writes Dave Hickey of this work, "one can only hope that the earnest scientists will stumble across a trove of Wesley's paintings in some tenth-floor loft. If they do, they will almost immediately begin to think better of us. They will think, Hey! These weren't such bad dudes! How could they be? They were cool, generous, and urbane; they encouraged high spirits and valued sex enough to make it elegant and funny."
Published by Fredericks & Freiser. Text by Robert Hobbs.
Over the course of the past 40 years, painter John Wesley has created a remarkably singular body of work whose subject is no less than the American psyche. While many artists of his generation have used popular images to explore the cultural landscape, Wesley has employed comic strip style and compositional rigor to make deeply personal, often hermetic paintings that strike at the core of our most primal fears, joys and desires. In this first volume ever to collect the entire iconic Bumstead series, which spans from 1974 until the present, we are introduced to several paintings that have never been reproduced before. These are dark and erotic works, sly and witty without ever giving too much away. Linda Norden described them thus in Parkett 62: "The Bumstead paintings--whether detailing scenes of domestic misunderstanding, zooming in on off-camera moments of bafflement or simply scanning empty halls and walls for private memories--are excruciatingly specific representations of the gulfs between feeling and comprehensionů smart, funny, startling, irreverently empathetic and often heartbreaking, they are a welcome antidote to more laborious discourse." With an insightful new essay by Robert Hobbs.
PUBLISHER Fredericks & Freiser
BOOK FORMAT Hardback, 8.5 x 10.5 in. / 56 pgs / 40 color.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 3/1/2008 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2008 p. 143
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9780615158273TRADE List Price: $40.00 CDN $50.00
Published by Kerber. Edited by Martin Hentschel. Essays by Martha Schwendener.
In the 1960s, John Wesley's works were labeled Pop art. While some would protest, it's true that his distinctive, comics-inspired lines, his American themes and his enigmatic eroticism had a striking influence on both Pop and a younger generation. This retrospective covers 45 years of stylistically consistent work, from before Pop to after it, including some 100 drawings and gouaches from Wesley's own studio and from private collections, organized in a first attempt to shed light on this wide-ranging oeuvre in terms of the processes by which it came into being, and to analyze the incongruous profundity of the results. Wesley's paintings, although they refer to downmarket aesthetics and mundane American life, nonetheless have an exceptionally meditative, even spiritual effect: they wrest from the ordinary all the big themes that have played in occidental figurative painting, including passion, love, hate, greed, failure, malice, self-importance and dreams, as well as an entirely contemporary ambiguity and humor. With essays by Martin Hentschel and Martha Schwendener.
Published by P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. Essays by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Alanna Heiss, Brian O'Doherty.
Accompanying a retrospective at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, this new monograph documents the work of painter John Wesley, covering his entire career from 1961 until today. Wesley is known for his consistency of palette--baby blues and cotton pinks--his use of painted "frames" within his pictures, his early emblem paintings, his cartoon Bumstead works--and ultimately for his representations of an inner erotic voyage where the viewer is both voyager and voyeur. Initially considered in alignment with pop artists of the early 60s, Wesley consistently produced works of such a subtle and subversive nature as to put him in a category of his own. He used the early tools of advertising production--like tracing paper and stock photography--and was the subject of a wide range of influences, from Surrealism to Art Nouveau, from ancient Greek poetry to Matisse. The result is an oeuvre that has challenged and rewarded viewers for forty years.