A survey of 1960s Pop Art, LA / MA will contextualize masterpieces from the Rose Art Museum’s collection by placing the work of these primarily East Coast-based artists (Marisol Escobar, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol) alongside the work of their West Coast peers (Billy Al Bengston, Judy Chicago, Llyn Foulkes and Joe Goode).
The Rose is renowned for its collection of American Pop Art, built around major works created by peers of the museum’s founding director, Sam Hunter. Hunter smartly acquired works by Tom Wesselmann, Ellsworth Kelly, Alex Katz, Morris Louis, and Claes Oldenburg, in addition to important paintings and sculptures by the artists listed above. The roster of artists acquired by Hunter—and his circle of peers more broadly—was determined in large part by geographic proximity. We can look back on the 1960s as a time before the art world was global, and when it might even be described as regional. A museum in Boston collected works from the surrounding area; it is not surprising that the defining purchases for the Rose’s collection were made in New York and that the museum's Pop collection remains definitively New York-centric.
LA / MA showcases the great works from the Rose collection alongside borrowed works by artists overlooked due to geographic distance and a related lack of awareness. The exhibition aims to tell a story about museum collecting (both then and now) and, in re-contextualizing Rose collection works, draw attention to the West Coast’s most important proponents of Pop.