In the 1960s, when Tom Wesselmann, whose work is currently on display at the Denver Art Museum
, first gained national attention, and into the '70s, his name was mentioned in the same breath as that of Warhol, Johns and Rauschenberg. Today, not so much. On a personal note, I teach one of those soup-to-nuts, Turner-to-Judd classes at the University of Colorado Denver, but when I lecture on pop art, I don't even mention Wesselmann -- though I can hardly shut up about Warhol.
So what happened? What went wrong? Here's my three-part theory.
See also: Review: These Four Artists Have Cracked the Code at the Sandra Phillips Gallery