POP ART OF THE OLD WEST
Pop Art: Art based on modern popular culture and the mass media, especially as a critical or ironic comment on traditional fine art values.
When Andy Warhol painted his Campbell’s Tomato Soup can, and his Brillo boxes, it was obvious where the imagery came from. He was taking common, everyday objects that were universally recognized, and by enlarging them, he made them into fine art. He took utilitarian products and gave them value by enshrining them in art museums, and basically taking away their useful purpose. I get it.
I went to the Masters of the West 2018, and in the case of one painting, I think I missed the point. It is Billy Schenck’s large painting of The Wild Bunch which sold for $45,000. But I don’t think the N. C. Wyeth painting that it is based on, is quite as iconic as Campbell Soup cans. I doubt that most people who see the show will realize that he is mocking, or as the August 2014 article in Southwest Art Magazine describes it, he is taking “a stance…a pendulum between the romantic and irreverent.” I would imagine that most people would think he had designed the piece himself.
But maybe not. Maybe it is just way over my head. His work is in renowned art museums, and in private and corporate collections. He has had over 100 solo shows in the U.S. and Europe. I guess all those people know what makes something ART. But maybe not.
By the way, N. C. Wyeth’s art is the top image. I couldn’t find the actual name of the Wyeth image or how it was used. I would imagine it was the inside cover liner art for one of his classic books, but which one? Anyone know?
That is N.C. Wyeth’s 1925 masterpiece oil on canvas titled “I’ve Seen Him Ride Broncs That Had Piled the Best of Them, and as for Roping—Even the Mexican Vaqueros Have Had to Hand It to Him More Than Once.”
You might enjoy this short article: https://truewestmagazine.com/vaqueros-buckaroos-cowboys/
The copy looks to me like a bad paint-by-number picture. But what do I know either? I’m no Andy Warhol!
Thanks David…I couldn’t find that anywhere. Did you find how it was used?
Yes, I found this:
“Wyeth’s painting of romantic western riders illustrated the serialized novel A Son of His Father by Harold Bell Wright. The illustration appeared in McCall’s Magazine, April 1925 with the caption, “I’ve seen him ride broncs that had piled the best of them, and as for roping – even the Mexican vaqueros have had to hand it to him more than once.” The sentence described the novel’s hero, Jack “Big Boy” Morgan. Young Morgan has excellent skills as a cowboy, but he had to overcome his own mistakes and the evil ways of cattle rustlers and unscrupulous business partners.”
I would put this piece up on Facebook for discussion.
> On Mar 4, 2018, at 3:21 PM, Robert Rodriguez > fineartprintsca wrote: > >
Hey Mr. Spalenka, how are you doing? I did put it on Facebook too. I really hate to trash other artists, but this was offensive to me. Hey, I’ve stolen my share of imagery when deadlines get tight. But I never was this blatant. I suppose I should have been, you make more money doing it that way. I never made $45,000 for any single piece I’ve done. But this was so identifiable as an N.C. piece. I recognized it immediately by the design and characters, even though I’d never seen the original before. It pissed me off.
Hey, we were in Orange, Texas a week ago, and visiting the Stark Museum….. turned the corner and there was the original N.C. Wyeth of this painting. It was so nice! And brought up my feelings all over again on this subject! And later, at the Medicine Man Gallery in Tucson, we met Mark Sublette, the owner. Seemed like a nice man. But he had a wall of Billy Schenck’s work. I wanted to ask him to explain it all for me, but I didn’t think it was polite, and was afraid I might say something I’d regret. It was an amazing gallery though.