Susan Stamberg. Wesselmann's Great American Nude series depicts women sprawled in front of patriotic backdrops. Above, his mixed media work Great American Nude Sixties pop artist Tom Wesselmann liked women, and saluted them on his canvases — or, sometimes, just parts of them: perfect glossy red mouths with lips parted to reveal pink tongues; nipples, even on the oranges he paints. These are just a few of the images that might make you blush in a Wesselmann retrospective now on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Before these large works focusing only on closely observed individual body parts, Wesselmann painted a series of full nudes, sprawling indiscreetly against patriotic backgrounds with red, white and blue stripes, and some stars. The Great American Nude series was Wesselmann's best-known work. Painted in the s, the large canvases featured the colors of Old Glory, sprawly nudes, and on the walls behind them, pasted clippings from magazines: a portrait of George Washington, a photograph of JFK, a reproduction of Van Gogh's Sunflowers , the Mona Lisa. What's going on here?
A real painter! Balthus, who died in , liked to stay above the fray, never embracing the isms that absorbed so many of his contemporaries. Born Balthasar Klossowski, he cultivated an air of mystery and myth, secluding himself in old-world country houses and castles in France, Italy, and Switzerland and inventing a life and an aristocratic lineage or two where the discipline of work was the order of the day. But secrets have a way of busting through. It will include at least one of his final, unfinished paintings for which the Polaroids were made. An accompanying two-book work will be published by Steidl.
This is a version of an e-mail I sent to a model, 22 years old, I believe, who has several times modeled excellently for me and a small group of artists who come to my home to draw. Like many models and many people, young hardly less than old, she has her moments of insecurity, of wondering—even though I keep hiring her—is she, in fact, good at this job or up to my presumed to be high standards. The images accompanying this post are from drawings I have made of this model and other young female models like her. The first paragraph refers to the fact that I have been exploring various, a little less conventional approaches, to include having the model be moving in ordinary non-dancer-ly ways or reading out loud to the artists. This relates, too, to your wondering if we thought you were a good model!