John Wesley
American, born 1928
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Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
2018
Four Rooms,
Blum & Poe
2014
Disturbing Innocence,
The FLAG Art Foundation
2013
John Wesley: Objects and Paintings,
David Kordansky Gallery

John Wesley traces fashion and news images from books and magazines as the basis for his highly stylized acrylic paintings. While he adopts the flattened forms and bright colors characteristic of Pop art, his style is often seen in line with the formal tenets of Minimalism espoused by Donald Judd and, somewhat paradoxically, to the Rococo, whose “casual, libidinous allegories” the critic David Hickey credits Wesley with reinventing. Rather than critique consumerist culture, Wesley’s cartoonish paintings, inspired to an extent by René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico, celebrate fantasy and express human fears and desires. They reference popular culture (especially the comic strip “Blondie”), but fix “on the neurotic, erotically inclined psyche of the American male, with its rage and frustration, longing and loss,” according to New York Times critic Andrea K. Scott.

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