The last great American pop artist James Rosenquist, who died last year, is remembered as one of the most influential artists in pop art. Since the 1950s, he, along with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, innovated the art scene to be about much more than paintings in golden frames. His paintings went beyond any known conventions – quite literally. In the 1960s, he started working with enormous sized art pieces, a task he was familiar with through his work as a billboard painter. Walking through the exhibition, one will find that many of Rosenquist's large-scale pieces stretch beyond one's field of view.
The exhibition is structured around three central and monumental artworks. These three giant multi-panel paintings each make out a room: from the iconic pop art piece Horse Blinders (1968) to Horizon Home Sweet Home (1970), which bolsters the idea of the painting as an illusion with its mirror-panels and dramatic dry ice fog, and finally the overwhelming three-painting suite The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (1997-98), owned by the Guggenheim, New York, which stretches over an impressive 27 meters. These three independent installations are complemented with several more essential pieces of art, which stretches from the artist's premier work in the early 1960s on to 2011.
A key aspect of the exhibition is furthermore the introduction to the process of the artist; his initial work with transforming popular culture images, ads, and magazines into collages, which later would inspire his gigantic paintings. ARoS showcases a total of 52 artworks, along with relevant archival material. The museum's close cooperation with Rosenquist Studio has allowed us to include these collages and early work, which have never been exhibited before.