[Above: Marisol “John Wayne” 1963 Wood, Mixed media 104 x 96 x 15 inches Collection of Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Julianne Kemper Gilliam Purchase Fund and the Debutante Ball Purchase Fund]
Some pop culture icons never die. “John Wayne” made yet another appearance at the Brooklyn Museum in Oct. 15, and will be there through Jan. 9. Sculpted by Venezuelan-born American artist Marisol Escobar, “John Wayne” was commissioned by Life Magazine in 1963 to illustrate an article on the movies, though Marisol applied her own distinctive perspective to the cinematic legend.
The sculpture is part of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s permanent collection, and is on loan as part of the traveling exhibition “Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968.” Sid Sachs of the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at University of the Arts in Philadelphia curated the show.
Saul Ostrow’s article titled “Reconfiguring Pop” for Art in America International Review notes that the exhibition is billed as “the first-ever all-woman survey of Pop art.” Ostrow goes on to note:
Seductive Subversion includes not only underknown Pop artists but also artists who are not typically identified with the movement. Marisol and Niki de Saint Phalle, both well known and associated with mainstream Pop, are present, but so is the Greek-born artist Chryssa, who is now fairly obscure but had a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim in 1961, when she was in her late 20s.
Marisol likewise incorporated elements of craft, though of the folk art variety. Her wooden sculpture John Wayne (1962-63) shows the cowboy star, gun drawn, astride a horse going at cartoonish full gallop (all four legs extending out from its body). Given its strong horizontal and vertical axes and pronounced silhouette, it is reminiscent of a whirligig or weathervane.
The latest stop for Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958–1968 is at the Brooklyn Museum, where FAC exhibit preparator Aaron Jakos traveled to install the sculpture. This project, along with a documentary film by Glenn Holsten, has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, with additional support from the Marketing Innovation Program.
John Wayne will continue to ride across the country until Apr. 3, 2010, to return to the FAC in time for the 75th anniversary celebration.
University of the Arts
January 22–March 15, 2010
Sheldon Museum of Art
July 30–September 26, 2010