James Rosenquist (1933-2017)
Fahrenheit 1982 Degrees
Brush, airbrush and colored ink and graphite pencil on frosted plastic
Sheet (Sight): 33 1/8 × 71 1/2 in. (84.1 × 181.6 cm) Image (Sight): 27 1/8 × 65 5/8 in. (68.9 × 166.7 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the John I. H. Baur Purchase Fund, the Mr. and Mrs. M. Anthony Fisher Purchase Fund and The Lauder Foundation--Drawing Fund
Rights and Reproductions Information
© James Rosenquist/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Although James Rosenquist’s paintings of the 1980s exhibited a newly aggressive tone, they featured many of the same elements that secured his reputation as a foremost Pop artist in the early 1960s: disorienting juxtapositions of enlarged fragments of images that were, in his words, “apart from nature.” Borrowed from photographs and magazine reproductions, they acknowledge the saturation of everyday American life by the mass media. Fahrenheit 1982 Degrees is typical of Rosenquist’s long, mural-size works, in which ordinary items assume heroic proportions, such as the polished fingernail that mysteriously metamorphoses into the tip of a fountain pen. The painting’s hot pink and red palette, as well as its assortment of phallic lipsticks that project toward the surface like bullets, charge the image with an erotic force whose power is accentuated by notations of motion, such as the swirling loops around the finger.