Art Review

Review: The Naked Truth About Pop Artist Tom Wesselmann

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

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia