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Roberto Pontual

(b São Paulo, 1935).

Brazilian painter and printmaker. After studying engraving in São Paulo, he moved to New York in 1959 to complete his studies at the Pratt Graphic Center, where his contact with international Pop art merged with his own interest in Brazilian popular imagery, for example in the portfolio of woodcuts Mine and Yours (1967). Immediately afterwards he began painting ambiguous and ironic still-lifes collectively titled Brasíliana, which use bananas as symbols of underdevelopment and exploitation, for example BR-1 SP (1970; São Paulo, Pin. Estado) and Bananas (1971; Washington, DC, Mus. Mod. A. Latin America). In 1971 he won a trip abroad in the National Salon of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro), which took him again to New York between 1972 and 1973. On his return to São Paulo he began the series Battlegrounds, in which he submitted the previously reclining bananas to slashing, torture and putrefaction. Subsequently shapes were reorganized into configurations of an undramatic Surrealism, playful, colourful, tumescent and as firmly rooted as ever in his native Brazil and Latin America....

Article

Frederick R. Brandt

(b Buffalo, NY, June 16, 1930; d Dec 17, 1998).

American painter and printmaker. He studied painting in Mexico City from 1957 to 1959 with John Golding (b 1929) under the terms of the G.I. Bill. His reputation as a Pop artist was established by his first New York one-man exhibition in 1963 where he showed his first acrylic paintings of the American highway and industrial landscape, such as Highway U.S. 1 – No. 3 (1963; Richmond, VA Mus. F.A.). Such large-scale canvases visually transported the viewer through a time sequence, as if travelling along a highway, catching glimpses of trees, dividing lines, signs and route markers. In subsequent works D’Arcangelo continued to examine the American landscape both as directly experienced and in the form of generalized contemporary symbols. An essentially flat and impersonal style allowed him to suggest an illusionistic space without sacrificing the viewer’s consciousness of the picture plane. This ambiguity between real and fictive space is further enforced in works such as ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b São Paulo, Dec 21, 1931).

Brazilian painter and draughtsman. In the 1950s he studied painting and printmaking in São Paulo, New York and Paris. His early work was influenced by Dada, especially Duchamp, and by Pop art, for example The [red-light] District: Rosario Did Not Go Away. Why? (1964; Nagaoka, Contemp. A. Mus.). At the João Sebastião Bar in São Paulo in 1963 he staged the first happening in Brazil. He was an influential promoter of new trends in São Paulo, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, for example through his creation of the Rex Gallery and the newspaper Rex Time in 1966–7. His espousal of mixed media led him to carry out a series of proposals for the synthesis of the arts from 1964 to 1968; the installation Helicóptero, a circular structure 4 m in diameter, painted on both sides and containing electrical components (1967; São Paulo, Mus. A. Assis Châteaubriand), was exhibited at the opening of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo in ...

Article

Marisol  

Deborah F. Pokinski

(Escobar)

(b Paris, May 22, 1930; d New York, Apr 30, 2016).

Venezuelan-American sculptor of French birth. Because of her use of everyday objects she is often classified as a Pop artist, but this designation does not adequately describe the complexity and compassion of her sculpture.

Marisol was born in Paris and had a peripatetic childhood before attending high school in Los Angeles. In 1949 she left for Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; in 1950 she returned to New York and studied at the Art Students League, followed by three years studying with Hans Hofmann. Her arrival in New York coincided with the transition between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and Marisol soon became a significant persona in the heady social and aesthetic swirl that marked the period.

In the early 1950s, Marisol discovered Pre-Columbian art and shifted from painting to sculpture. Influenced by the Neo-Dada lead up to Pop art, especially the work of Robert Rauschenberg, she began experimenting with assemblage and soon developed her signature work: large-scale figures using a combination of found and created forms. Typically, she began with richly grained wooden blocks, then drew or painted illusionistic faces and body elements on them—or used plaster masks—adding found objects as props and to suggest environments, often with a twist of Surrealist disjunction. ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Bogotá, Aug 12, 1941).

Colombian sculptor, collagist and conceptual artist. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá from 1959 to 1965 and began at this time to make collages influenced by Pop art. In 1966 he made the first of his Boxes, painted in strong flat colours, often red or yellow, to which he affixed industrial elements such as telephone handsets. Soon afterwards he began to make only white boxes, using the colour to complement the mystery of the objects they contained, such as the heads, arms and legs of dolls, machine parts, wooden eggs and domestic objects; the penetrating humour and arbitrariness with which he juxtaposed such things recalled the spirit of Dada.

In the 1970s Salcedo became involved for a time with conceptual art in mordantly critical and irreverent works, such as The National Coat of Arms (1973; Bogotá, Mus. A. Mod.). He subsequently returned, however, to sculptural objects, bringing together two or more previously unconnected elements into an unsuspected poetic unity when assembled. These in turn gave way to works concerned with the representation of water, for example a group of saw-blades aligned in wavelike patterns or rectangles of glass arranged to resemble rain. Some of these included human figures, bringing to bear a sense of solitude and anxiety that added to their poetry and suggestiveness....