Important Works from 1961 to 1966
May 7 through June 13, 2015
Fredericks & Freiser is proud to announce John Wesley Important Works from 1961 to 1966. The exhibition will include paintings, drawings, and objects, many of which have not been exhibited in New York since the 1960s.
This exhibition examines Wesley's progression from his early heraldic paintings to cartoon figuration charged with memory and emotion. Wesley's first works are deadpan depictions of stamps, badges, shields, and emblems that imbue the mundane with personal and political meaning. Though formally linked to minimalism due to the essentiality and compositional rigor of Wesley's production, these paintings were celebrated by everyone from Donald Judd to Lucy Lippard as an important addition to Pop Art. However, Wesley’s direction was towards a more idiosyncratic narrative structure. Unlike his initial works in which popular iconography, particularly symbols of Americana, are used to critique a country that adorns itself with the quotidian, Wesley’s more narrative work appropriates traditional Pop subject matter such as Sunday comics and pin-up erotica. As seen together, the works collected for this exhibition underscore Wesley’s preeminence as a visionary artist whose often hermetic paintings strike at the psychological core of our most primal fears, joys, and desires.
About the Artist
John Wesley has been the subject of numerous museum retrospectives including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, curated by Rudi Fuchs and Kasper Koenig (travelled to Portikus); DAAD, Berlin; PS1 MoMA, Long Island City, curated by Alana Heiss; Sert Gallery at the Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA, curated by Linda Norden; Kunstmuseen Krefeld/Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany, curated by Martin Henschel; Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX, curated by Marianne Stockebrand; and an enormous exhibition curated by Germano Celant for the Fondazione Prada at the 2009 Venice Biennale. He has a permanent installation of paintings in the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX. He has been exhibited and collected in numerous museums including The Menil Collection, Houston; MoCA, Los Angeles; MoMA, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art; Tate, Liverpool; Carnegie Museum of Art; and the Hirschorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. In 2014, Wesley was commissioned by High Line Art to create a public project for the High Line. This will be his eleventh solo show at Fredericks & Freiser.
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