Life of Pop: Exuberant Color, Extravagant Sprint
This week, we continue our series of posts related to the exhibition Sweet Dreams, Baby! Life of Pop, London to Warhol, which focuses on some of the lesser-known Pop art works in the Albright-Knox’s Collection.
One of the most exciting aspects of organizing a comprehensive, thematic exhibition such as this one is the chance for our curators to dig deep into the vaults and bring to light works that have not been on view for quite some time, including Lotus Europa, 1969, by Nicholas Krushenick (American, 1929–1999). Krushenick began working with shaped canvases in the late 1950s, which led him to develop a series of highly stylized characteristics that burst with explosive color, often contained by thick, black graphic elements. While his work has remained outside of mainstream Pop art, his comic-book style and suggestive imagery place him in the company of artists like Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997), whose work was heavily influenced by the visual language of comic books.
Krushenick worked with a selection of forms and shapes that he said he was “in love with.” When collaged together, they suggest everyday objects—such as the pattern of a leaf, or the aperture of a camera—that have been honed in on and enlarged. The strong diagonal presence of Lotus Europa gives the sense that it fluctuates between convex and concave space. Alternating blue and orange horizontal stripes interrupt the painting’s surface, creating a form that calls to mind anything from a set of dueling staircases to the linear components inside the engine of a sports car like the Lotus Europa coupe, which began production in 1966.
Image © Estate of Nicholas Krushenick, courtesy Gary Snyder Gallery, New York