If Ramos appropriated the visual language of consumer sales to riff on pornography, Tom Wesselmann used it to reconceive another stock form: the still life. While leaders of the genre like
portrayed shiny pots and dead animals, and
specialized in fruit ensembles, Wesselmann opted to paint the things most emblematic of his own time. In his works, Wesselmann used food to explicitly link Pop art to historical traditions.
The artist’s Still Life #35 (1963) features a table set with such products as Royal Crown Cola, Made-Rite white bread, and a can of Libby’s Beef Stew, in additionto lemons, an orange cloth, and the edge of a red container that look as though they jumped into the scene from an 18th-century still life. Through a window in the background, an airplane can be seen flying overhead. The painting posits that despite political, technological, and aesthetic shifts, food offers a common link between generations of artists. They all, at one point or another, have to stop painting long enough to eat.