Tag Archives: The Shock of the New

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 16 Francis Schaeffer discusses quotes of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966” Part B (Feature on artist James Rosenquist plus many pictures of Warhol with famous friends)


John, Yoko and Warhol pictured below:
The Clash meets Warhol:

Warhol - Button Down & Skull


Andy Warhol and members of The Factory: Gerard Malanga, poet; Viva, actress; Paul Morrissey, director; Taylor Mead, actor; Brigid Polk, actress; Joe Dallesandro, actor; Andy Warhol, artist, New York, October 9, 1969 (picture below)


Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)

Francis Schaeffer pictured below:


프란시스 쉐퍼 – 그러면 우리는 어떻게 살 것인가 introduction (Episode 1)

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

The clip above is from episode 9 THE AGE OF PERSONAL PEACE AND AFFLUENCE

10 Worldview and Truth

In above clip Schaeffer quotes Paul’s speech in Greece from Romans 1 (from Episode FINAL CHOICES)

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age” episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” ,  episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” . My favorite episodes are number 7 and 8 since they deal with modern art and culture primarily.(Joe Carter rightly noted, “Schaefferwho always claimed to be an evangelist and not a philosopher—was often criticized for the way his work oversimplified intellectual history and philosophy.” To those critics I say take a chill pill because Schaeffer was introducing millions into the fields of art and culture!!!! !!! More people need to read his works and blog about them because they show how people’s worldviews affect their lives!

J.I.PACKER WROTE OF SCHAEFFER, “His communicative style was not thaof a cautious academiwho labors foexhaustive coverage and dispassionate objectivity. It was rather that of an impassioned thinker who paints his vision of eternal truth in bold strokes and stark contrasts.Yet it is a fact that MANY YOUNG THINKERS AND ARTISTS…HAVE FOUND SCHAEFFER’S ANALYSES A LIFELINE TO SANITY WITHOUT WHICH THEY COULD NOT HAVE GONE ON LIVING.”

Francis Schaeffer’s works  are the basis for a large portion of my blog posts and they have stood the test of time. In fact, many people would say that many of the things he wrote in the 1960’s  were right on  in the sense he saw where our western society was heading and he knew that abortion, infanticide and youth enthansia were  moral boundaries we would be crossing  in the coming decades because of humanism and these are the discussions we are having now!)

There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

Francis Schaeffer in Art and the Bible noted, “Many modern artists, it seems to me, have forgotten the value that art has in itself. Much modern art is far too intellectual to be great art. Many modern artists seem not to see the distinction between man and non-man, and it is a part of the lostness of modern man that they no longer see value in the work of art as a work of art.” 

Many modern artists are left in this point of desperation that Schaeffer points out and it reminds me of the despair that Solomon speaks of in Ecclesiastes.  Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus matter.” THIS IS EXACT POINT SCHAEFFER SAYS SECULAR ARTISTS ARE PAINTING FROM TODAY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED ARE A RESULT OF MINDLESS CHANCE.


Here is what Francis Schaeffer wrote about Andy Warhol’s art and interviews:

The Observer June 12, 1966 does a big spread on Warhol.

Andy is a mass communicator. Someone has described pop art as Dada plus Madison Avenue or commercialism and I think that is a good definition. Dada was started in Zurich and came along in modern art. Dada means nothing. The word “Dada” means rocking horse, but it was chosen by chance. The whole concept Dada is everything means nothing. Pop Art has been said to be the Dada concept put forth in modern commercialization.

Everything in his work is being leveled down to an universal monotony which he can always sell for $8000.00.

Andy Warhol says, “It stops you thinking about things. I wish I were a machine. I don’t want to be heard. I don’t want human emotions. I have never been touched by a painting. I don’t want to think. The world would be easier to live  in if we all were machines. It is nothing in the end anyway.”


Francis Schaeffer

Notice Andy Warhol’s words very closely concerning the time he takes to make his movies:

“It stops you thinking about things. I wish I were a machine. I don’t want to be heard. I don’t want human emotions. I have never been touched by a painting. I don’t want to think. The world would be easier to live  in if we all were machines. It is nothing in the end anyway.”

Francis Schaeffer said that modern man may say that we all are the results of chance plus time and there is no life beyond the grave but then people can’t live that way because of the “mannishness of man.” We all have significance and the ability to love and be loved and we have the ability of rational thought that distinguishes us from machines and animals and that indicates that we were man in the image of God.

WHY FRANCIS SCHAEFFER MATTERS: Consequences of Pitting Rationality Against Faith – PART 4

The decisive result of falling below the line of despair is a pitting of rationality against faith.  Schaeffer sees this as an enormous problem and details four consequences in his book, Escape From Reason.

First, when rationality contends against faith, one is not able to establish a system of morality.  It is simply impossible to have an “upstairs morality” that is unrelated to matters of everyday living.

Second, when rationality and faith are dichotomized, there is no adequate basis for law.  “The whole Reformation system of law was built on the fact that God had revealed something real down into the common things of life” (Escape From Reason, 261).  But when rationality and faith are pitted against one another, all hope for law is obliterated.

The third consequence is that this scheme throws away the answer to the problem of evil.  Christianity’s answer rests in the historic, space-time, real and complete Fall of man who rebelled and made a choice against God.  “Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good” (Escape From Reason, 262).

Finally, when one accepts this unbiblical dichotomy he loses the opportunity to evangelize people at their real point of despair.  Schaeffer makes it clear that modern man longs for answers.  “He did not accept the line of despair and the dichotomy because he wanted to.  He accepted it because, on the basis of the natural development of his rationalistic presuppositions, he had to.  He may talk bravely at times, but in the end it is despair” (Escape From Reason, 262).  It is at this point that Schaeffer believes the Christian apologist has a golden opportunity to make an impact.  “Christianity has the opportunity, therefore, to say clearly that its answer has the very thing modern man has despaired of – the unity of thought.  It  provides a unified answer for the whole of life.  True, man has to renounce his rationalism; but then, on the basis of what can be discussed, he has the possibility of recovering his rationality” (Escape From Reason, 262).

Schaeffer challenges us, “Let us Christians remember, then, that if we fall into the trap  against which I have been warning, what we have done, among other things, is to put ourselves in the position where in reality we are only saying with evangelical words what the unbeliever is saying with his words.  In order to confront modern man effectively, we must not have this dichotomy.  You must have the Scriptures speaking truth both about God Himself and about the area where the Bible touches history and the cosmos” (Escape From Reason, 263).

The Tension of Being a Man

Before proceeding to Dr. Schaeffer’s basic approach to apologetics one must understand the concept he calls “mannishness” or the tension of being a man.  The idea is essentially that no man can live at ease in the area of despair.  His significance, ability to love and be loved, and his capacity for rationality distinguish him from machines and animals and give evidence to this fact: Man is made in the image of God.  Modern man has been forced to accept the false dichotomy between nature and grace and consequently takes a leap of faith to the upper story and embraces some form of mysticism, which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.  But as Schaeffer points out, “The very ‘mannishness’ of man refuses to live in the logic of the position  to which his humanism and rationalism have brought him.  To say that I am only a machine is one thing; to live consistently  as if this were true is quite another” (The God Who Is There, 68).  Schaeffer continues, “Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it.  He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he is still a man” (The God Who Is There, 69).

Thus, the foundation for Francis Schaeffer’s basic approach to apologetics is simply to recognize that man is an image-bearer.  Man even in his sin has personality, significance, and worth.  Therefore, the apologist should approach him in those terms.  The apologist must not only recognize that man is made in the image of God;  he must also love him in word and deed.  Finally, the apologist must speak to the man as a unit; he must reach the whole man (for faith truly does involve the whole man) and refuse to buy into the popularized Platonic idea that man’s soul is more important than the body.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro)

Francis Schaeffer with his son Franky pictured below. Francis and Edith (who passed away in 2013) opened L’ Abri in 1955 in Switzerland.

Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of Truth & History (part 2)

The Life and Death of Andy Warhol—by Victor Bockris

from The Life and Death of Andy Warhol, by Victor Bockris 1989 Bantam Books

“Just ordinary people like my paintings It took intelligent people years to appreciate the abstract expressionist school and I suppose it’s hard for intellectuals to think of me as art. I’ve never been touched by a painting. I don’t want to think The world outside would be easier to live in if we were all machines. It’s nothing in the end anyway, It doesn’t matter what anyone does. My work won’t last anyway. I was using cheap paint.”

12 June 1966: Andy Warhol’s factory

John Heilpern’s visit to Andy Warhol’s Factory yielded a fascinating portrait of the artist and his circle of devotees. But it didn’t leave Heilpern entirely convinced. He concluded: “After a while, you begin to wonder who are the ones to worry about – Warhol or us. And perhaps that’s the point. But for all those who’ve labelled his work as ‘the art of immediacy, of brilliance, of mirth and joy’, and, in particular, for all those cultural pimps of fashionable chit-chat who’ve spent thousands of dollars on his ‘paintings’, Warhol left me with these words: ‘My work won’t last anyway. I was using cheap paint.'”


When Pop Art Gets Critical: Andy Warhol

Art & LiteratureMedia — By  on September 22, 2010 at 6:26 am

I used to dismiss Andy Warhol as “shallow”–that is, until I dug a little deeper and discovered the underlying coherence of his work. Warhol’s two most famous pieces, the Marilyns and the Campbell’s Soup Cans, highlight the persistent theme of his body of work: the dehumanizing effects of media.  He didn’t target pundits; his critique was that mechanistic production and proliferation of an image erodes its meaning and value.  In other words, if you see something enough times it doesn’t matter or mean anything to you anymore.

The Marilyns are the first and most famous of Warhol’s Celebrity series.  They are silk screened prints on canvases, the same image but different colors each time.  Warhol chose silk screening because it was mechanistic rather than personal.  These screens could create hundreds of nearly identical prints if maintained well, but he was more interested in the machine-like process than the mass of products it could produce.  He allowed the silkscreens degrade with use, meaning that each successive image was slightly more garbled than the one before, culminating in blocks of color that can barely be recognized as a face.  The result?  A mechanism that, when repeated, resulted in eventual loss of meaning.  That’s the basic process, but that doesn’t explain the subject matter.

Why celebrities?  Same idea: images of celebrities are so pervasive that they destroy our notion of the celebrity as a person; the human is replaced by a photo increasingly detached from the reality of their humanness, reflecting instead a projected persona.  Why Marylin?  Because she was destroyed by the machine.  Warhol developed the process before he chose the subject; when asked why he used Marylin, he answered that he “got the idea to make screens of her beautiful face” from the news of her recent suicide.  The images he created only recapped what had happened in her life: meaning was destroyed by mechanistic production.  Other celebrities in the series include Elvis Presley, Jackie Onassis, Michael Jackson, and Mao Tse-Tung, among others.

The Campbell’s Soup Cans are another approach to the same issue.  He painted a vast series of cans, each a little different from any other, sometimes obviously and sometimes subtly.  As he made them he paid close attention to their differences, and if you were to examine each can individually, you would see the subtleties.  But you see dozens of cans at once, and however intricate each one might be, all you see is a bunch of identical cans.  Warhol repeated this process with other prolific objects, like dollar bills and Coca-Cola bottles.  Asked why he painted such repetitiously mundane material, he answered  “I just paint things I always thought were beautiful . . . things you use every day and never think about.” (quoted in Victor Bockirs’ book The Life and Death of Andy Warhol)  One image, or one object can be interesting, unique, and beautiful.  Hundreds can only be a stack of something, whether it’s a stack of cans or a stack of pretty pictures.

Was Warhol’s critique limited to the culture’s treatment of pictures?  I doubt it.  ’Image’ can be understood in many ways; broadly defined, celebrities, archetypes, heroes and leaders are all images.   The fact that he applied the mechanistic process to pictures is interesting, but I think the real impact lies in his selection of subjects.  Mao Tse-Tung, Marylin Monroe, soup cans, coke bottles, car wrecks.  What do these things have in common?  That we know, and don’t really care.  That we have seen them too often to actually perceive them anymore; that proliferation has annihilated meaning.

Warhol aimed to draw attention to the mechanism by imitating and parodying it.  He called his studio ‘The Factory’.  He set up assembly lines.  He insisted that “The reason I’m painting this way is that I want to be a machine.”  The very absurdity of embracing dehumanization was his social critique.  The tragedy is that no one noticed.

Think about it.  Where have you seen Warhol’s art?  Have you seen the originals?  Probably not.  Most likely you’ve seen posters, T-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, calendars, neckties, purses, you name it, mechanically emblazoned with the images Andy created.  This time, there is no human pretending to be a machine- it’s actually pure machinery.  This time, the images do not critique mechanization- they have been subsumed by it.











The reason I’m painting this way is that I want to be a machine, and I feel that
whatever I do and do machine -like is what I want to do….
AW:The name sounds so awful. Dada must have something to do with Pop —it’s so funny, the names are re
ally synonyms. Does anyone know what they’re supposed to mean or have to do
with, those names? Johns and Rauschenberg Neo –
Dada for all these years, and everyone calling them derivative and unable to transform the things they use
are now called progenitors of Pop.
It’s funny the way things change. I think John Cage has been very influential, and Merce
Cunningham, too, maybe. Did you sec that article in the Hudson Review [“The End of the
Renaissance?”, Summer, 1963]? It was about Cage and that whole crowd, but with a lot of big
words like radical empiricism and teleology. Who knows? Maybe Jap and Rob were Neo-Dada
and aren’t any more. History books are being rewritten all the time. It doesn’t matter what you do.
Everybody just goes on thinking the same thing, and every year it gets more and more alike.
Those who talk about individuality the most are the ones who most object to deviation, and in a
few years it may be the other way around. Some day everybody will think just what they want to
think, and then everybody will probably be thinking alike; that seems to be what is happening.

Andy Warhol’s painting of James Rosenquist below:


Today’s featured artist is James Rosenquist. 


Pictured below are Tom Wesselman, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol en Claes Oldenburg in 1964. Foto: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images


Artist James Rosenquist interview

Uploaded on Aug 5, 2009

The renowned pop artist sits down for a chat with Florida Trend’s Art Levy. For more go here.



Monday, 10 January 2011

James rosenquist

James rosenquist is an American artist who combines both pop art and fine art. He creates his work using techniques such as silkscreen printing and collage.His collages are composed in a way that the individual objects make sense together and tell a story. His print ‘president elect’ uses the image of Kennedy’s face from his campaign poster, which is another example of appropriation. Rosenquist said he was interested in people who advertise themselves.



Published on May 15, 2013

Premiering MAY 22ND, 2013 on HBO – World reknowned painter James Rosenquist mentors three young artists as they collaborate on a piece together, and discuss pursuing life as an artist.

Marilyn by James Rosenquist below:

Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art: James Rosenquist

Uploaded on Aug 11, 2008

More Webcasts and Podcasts: http://americanart.si.edu/interact/in…

James Rosenquist is world renowned for his large-scale paintings that combine images from advertising and mass media with vibrant color and abstraction. Rosenquist studied art at the University of Minnesota, and at the Art Students League in New York City. In the 1950s, he painted billboards to make money. In the 1960s, Rosenquist was included in several group exhibitions which established pop art as a movement. Rosenquist achieved international acclaim with his monumental painting F-111 (1964–65), often considered one of his most important works, which was first shown in 1965 at the Leo Castelli Gallery. His work has been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, and Europe since 1968. The most recent touring exhibition of his work, James Rosenquist: A Retrospective, was organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2003.


James Rosenquist, American (1933 – )

James Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. When he was a high school student he won a scholarship to study at the Minneapolis School of Art. He was further educated at the University of Minnesota and the Art Students League in New York. He also attended drawing classes organized by Jack Youngerman and Robert Indiana; at the same time, he was designing store windows and painting billboards to earn a living.

This commercial experience led decisively to his particular pop style. His most famous painting, F-Ill, is eighty-six feet long and shares many of the characteristics of a billboard. The preference for anonymity in his subjects carried through to the print media. Rosenquist has made a number of screen prints and etchings, but most of his graphics are lithographs.

His prints have frequently been exhibited in galleries and museums and at biennials internationally. They can be found in many permanent collections including those of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.


1933 Born November 29 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Parents Louis and Ruth Rosenquist, of Swedish and Norwegian descent. Family settles in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1942.

1948 Wins junior high school scholarship to study art at the Minneapolis School of Art at the Minneapolis Art Institute.

1952-54 Attends the University of Minnesota, and studies with Cameron Booth. Visits the Art Institute of Chicago to study old master and 19th-century paintings. Paints storage bins, grain elevators, gasoline tanks, and signs during the summer. Works for General Outdoor Advertising, Minneapolis, and paints commercial billboards.

1955 Receives scholarship to the Art Students League, New York, and studies with Morris Kantor, George Grosz, and Edwin Dickinson.

1957-59 Becomes a member of the Sign, Pictorial and Display Union, Local 230. Employed by A.H. Villepigue, Inc., General Outdoor Advertising, Brooklyn, New York, and Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation. Paints billboards in the Times Square area and other locations in New York.


1960 Quits working for Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation. Rents a loft at 3-5 Coenties Slip; neighbors include the painters Jack Youngerman, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Robert Indiana, Lenore Tawney, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Barnett Newman, and the poet Oscar Williamson.

1961 Paints Zone (1960-61), his first studio painting to employ commercial painting techniques and fragmented advertising imagery.

1962 Has first solo exhibition at the Green Gallery, New York, which he joined in 1961. Early collectors include Robert C. Scull, Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, Richard Brown Baker, and Burton and Emily Tremaine.

1963 Paints mural commissioned by Philip Johnson for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, New York State Pavilion. Exhibits in New York in Americans 1963 at the Museum of Modern Art and in Six Painters and the Object at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

1964 Joins the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York. Exhibits with the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris, France, and the Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Turin, Italy. Begins working on lithographs at Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, Long Island.

1965 Exhibits F-111 (1964-65), a site-specific wrap-around painting, in his first solo show at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (April-May) and then at the Jewish Museum, New York (June-September). Robert C. Scull purchases F-111, and it tours eight major European museums through 1967.

1966 Begins a series of walk-through, ceiling-suspended paintings on clear polyester film (Mylar).

1967 Moves to Long Island, New York. Exhibits a room of polyester film paintings including Forest Ranger (1967) at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy. F-111 is exhibited at the 9th São Paulo Bienal, Brazil.

1968 Has first retrospective exhibition, at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. F-111 is exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Forest Ranger group of paintings is exhibited at the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris.

1969 Exhibits his second site-specific wrap-around painting Horse Blinders (1968-69) at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York. F-111 is exhibited at the Hayward Gallery, London, England.


1970 Exhibits an installation of painted and reflective panels with dry ice fog, Horizon Home Sweet Home (1970), and the paintings Area Code (1970) and Flamingo Capsule (1970) at the Leo Castelli Gallery.

1971 Works on the Cold Light Suite of prints at the University of South Florida’s Graphicstudio in Tampa, Florida.

1972 Has retrospective exhibitions at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museums, Cologne, Germany; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois.

1973 Rents studio in Ybor City, Florida.

1974 Lobbies in Washington, D. C., with Marion Javits and Robert Rauschenberg for legislation protecting artists’ rights.

Builds a house and studio with the architect Gilbert Flores in Aripeka, Florida. Receives a commission from the State of Florida for two murals for the new state capitol building in Tallahassee.

1977 Purchases building on Chambers Street, New York. Paints a number of 15-foot works in Florida for exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery, 420 West Broadway, New York.

1978 Receives appointment to six-year term as member of the National Council on the Arts, Washington, D.C. F-111 is exhibited at the 38th Venice Biennale, Italy.


1980 Paints Star Thief (1980), the first of five 17′ x 46′ paintings.


Passenger speed of light 1999


Installation view of James Rosenquist’s F-111 (1964-65) at The Museum of Modern Art, 2012. Oil on canvas with aluminum, 23 sections. 10 x 86′ (304.8 x 2621.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alex L. Hillman and Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (both by exchange). © 2012 James Rosenquist/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photo by Jonathan Muzikar

Installation view of James Rosenquist’s F-111 (1964-65) at The Museum of Modern Art, 2012. Oil on canvas with aluminum, 23 sections. 10 x 86′ (304.8 x 2621.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alex L. Hillman and Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (both by exchange). © 2012 James Rosenquist/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Photo by Jonathan Muzikar

F-111 is presented here as it was first exhibited at the Castelli Gallery in 1965, now also alongside a group of collages the artist made in preparation for this monumental composition. Rosenquist was well acquainted with painting on this immense scale: before becoming an artist he had earned a living as a billboard painter in New York City. Interested in the phenomenon of peripheral vision, Rosenquist wanted the painting to create an immersive environment that would heighten the viewer’s awareness of his or her own position in space. He cited artistic precedents for this ambition in works such as Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and the large horizontal paintings by Abstract Expressionist artists Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman.
The installation is made possible by BNP Paribas.

Position the cursor on the images to view captions, click on images to enlarge them. 

Posizionare il cursore sulle immagini per leggere le didascalie; cliccare sulle immagini per ingrandirle.

Chapter 7, “Culture as nature”, involves Hughes addressing the impact of mass media on art: “The sense of natural order, always in some ways correcting the pretensions of Self , gave mode and measure to pre-modern art. If this sense has now become dimmed, it is partly because for most people Nature has been replaced by the culture of congestion… Overload has changed our art. Especially in the last thirty years, capitalism plus electronics have given us a new habitat, our forest of media. The problem for art, then, was how to survive here, how to adapt to this habitat – for otherwise, it was feared, art would go under” (p324). Pre-war American artists coming to grips with American urban reality included Joseph Stella, Charles Demuth  and Stuart Davis. Hughes describes how  radical post-war American artists addressed the capitalist consumer and media saturation culture, his examples including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Richard Hamilton,  Andy Warhol (of Campbell’s Soup and Marilyn Monroe Pop image repetition notoriety), Roy Lichtenstein (of Pop art comic books transmogrified notoriety), James Rosenquist  (“The F-111”),  Claes Oldenburg (“Two Cheeseburgers with Everything”) and culminating with photo-realism as with Robert Cottingham (“Roxy”, 1972) . Hughes concludes testily: “Art is a small thing, though an expensive one, compared to the media. It is a vibration in a museum; it deals with nuances that have no “objective” importance. It is not even a very good religion… But once it gives up its claims to seriousness, it is shot, and its essential role as an arena for free thought and unregimented feeling is lost. The pop sensibility did much to take those claims away, dissolving them in the doctrine that the medium was the message” (p364).

The Shock of the New – Ep 7 – Culture as Nature


Party at Andy Warhol’s studio, The Factory, in New York City, 1964.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Stars of pop, from right: Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, fashion model Jean Shrimpton, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg. Photo: Ken Heyman

Party at Andy Warhol’s studio, The Factory, in New York City, 1964.

Stars of pop, from right: Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, fashion model Jean Shrimpton, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg. Photo: Ken Heyman


After losing home, studios in wildfire, painter Rosenquist faces uncertain future

ARIPEKA — In only a few hours, a home, two studios, years of memories and artwork of untold value were reduced to smoldering rubble. But a day later, the conversation kept drifting toward a November art show in New York City.


The six staff members eagerly lifted their hands. But renowned artist James Rosenquist kept one hand around a glass of pale lager and the other on his paint-spattered white jeans.

“We had a lot done already,” Rosenquist said, settling deeply into a black leather couch. “I’m trying to decide whether to get going or not.”

One of the world’s most famous painters, the 75-year-old Rosenquist faces an uncertain future after a brush fire swept through his home, office and studio Saturday. A second home also was lost, officials said. No one was injured.

“It’s all gone,” Rosenquist said. “I’m just wiped out.”

The blaze touched off in the remote area about 3 a.m., but members of the Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department said they had the fire contained and called off a crew responding from the state Division of Forestry.

About 12 hours later, the blaze flared up again and quickly ripped through the thick brush between Indian Bay Road and Osowaw Boulevard. Crews were trying to protect the structures but had to pull out once they learned about the volatile materials stored in Rosenquist’s studio.

After firefighters retreated, a propane tank in the artist’s studio exploded.

Much of the fire had been contained by Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters said the 62-acre blaze was suspicious and they were investigating the cause. Unusually dry weather conditions, the isolation of the area and the proximity of Rosenquist’s property to the forest probably contributed to the extensive damage.

“In 20 years, this is the first house I’ve lost,” said Dave Fogler, a supervisor with the Department of Forestry. “But there was a solid wall of fire out here. There was nothing anyone could do.”

That was of little consolation to Rosenquist and residents of the tiny, arty gulf-front community that straddles the Hernando-Pasco county line.

Hours after the fire, dozens gathered at local grocery store and bait shop Norfleet Fish Camp to gab about the blaze and share their sorrows over a bucket of fried chicken and several bottles of wine.

“I feel really bad for Jim,” said Mark Griffiths, a neighbor and friend. “He lost 30 years of his life in there. It all just went, “Kaboom!’ ”

With roads closed by officials, friend Carl Norfleet took Rosenquist out into the Gulf of Mexico by boat so they could see what was happening. Rosenquist had been traveling around the state and returned to Aripeka just in time to see his home burn down.

“He wasn’t emotional,” Norfleet said. “But we were all antsy. The (propane) tanks were just booming with each explosion.”

Rosenquist settled in Aripeka in 1976, building a stilt house and small studio shortly after his first wife and son recuperated from a car accident in Tampa. He is known as “Jim” to most of the locals, just a Midwestern guy who enjoys an alcoholic beverage and putters around town in jeans and a T-shirt.

Known for billboard painting, fine art and interpretations of the pop art movement, Rosenquist’s best-known local work might be the giant Band-Aid sculpture that he donated to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

He has also collaborated with Graphicstudio, the prestigious atelier at the University of South Florida.

“He’s an Aripeka gem,” Norfleet said. “He can’t leave.”

As of now, Rosenquist has no plans to go. He said he will remain in Aripeka and would like to rebuild his home and studios.

By Sunday afternoon, Rosenquist had already moved into a guest home built on towering stilts across the street from the simmering ruins of his old house. He was surrounded by his wife, Mimi Thompson, and a bubbly group of assistants, all of them pondering what was lost.

After losing some of his work in the devastating no-name storm of 1993, Rosenquist figured he had suffered through his share of disasters.

“I lost quite a bit then,” he said. “But that was a once in a lifetime storm.”

This time, Rosenquist isn’t quite sure where or how the recovery will start. In particular, he lamented the loss of a mural commissioned by the government of France that measured 133 feet high by 24 feet wide.

But his assistants were already talking about arrangements for the November show in New York, going over plans for turning the guest home into a work space and encouraging him to get started as soon as possible.

Rosenquist was not prepared to commit to anything. If only for a day, the future could wait.

“I just need to break this spell,” he said, taking a swig of Beck’s. “But we’ll get at it again.”

Joel Anderson can be reached at joelanderson@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6120.

After losing home, studios in wildfire, painter Rosenquist faces uncertain future 04/26/09 [Last modified: Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:19pm]


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