James Rosenquist was born on November 29, 1933, in Grand Forks, North
Dakota. His family moved frequently in his youth until they finally
settled in Minneapolis in the late 1940s. Rosenquist was interested
in art when he was young and received a scholarship when he was 15
to attend classes at the Minneapolis School of Art. In 1952, he entered
the University of Minnesota to study painting. To help support himself,
Rosenquist painted outdoor advertising on billboards and grain silos
for a local company. In 1955, Rosenquist moved to New York, he again
took up painting enormous billboards in Times Square to supplement
During this time he also met and befriended many artists, including
Claes Oldenburg, Robert Indiana, Robert Rauschneberg, and Jasper
Johns, who were to become known for their work as Pop
Artists. In the late 1950s Rosenquist began to apply the techniques
he used in his commercial work to his art. His large paintings combined
jarring juxtapositions of images from
advertisements and the media with autobiographical
and political themes. He said, "I'm amazed and excited and
fascinated about the way things are thrust at us...we are attacked
by radio and television and visual communications...at such a speed
and with such a force that painting now seem(s) very old fashioned...why
shouldn't it be done with that power and gusto [of advertising],
with that impact?"
In 1963, Rosenquist was commissioned by architect Philip Johnson
to paint a mural for a building at the New York World's Fair. He
was selected by the art magazine, Art in America, as the
"Young Talent Painter of 1963." Political, especially
anti-war, imagery became prominent in Rosenquist's paintings after
the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963.
In 1972, Rosenquist was arrested as a Vietnam War protester in
Washington, D.C. He has continued to work for artists' rights and
political issues. Now, more than 30 years since his career began,
Rosenquist continues to work on major commissions with great energy.
Large-scale works, often with personal and political themes, still
are important to him. In later years, his works have incorporated
more high-tech and cosmic allusions, with themes of time, anti-violence,
the story of your own life.
place two different things side by side.
art movement associated with the 1960s in the United States in which
artists incorporated imagery and/or media from popular culture such
as advertisements, mass produced objects, movies, and comics.
Return to the TOP of the page ]