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.