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An Interview with James Rosenquist

ONE OF THE STATEMENTS repeatedly made about Pop art was that Pop artists have always accepted anything that was part of our society rather than registering some sort of protest. This was considered a basic difference between Dada and Pop. Alloway phrased it “to live with the culture one has grown up with.”

That idea of accepting the banal for the beautiful doesn’t really have anything to do with anything. That’s like trying to figure from the glint on the grass what kind of sun in the morning is going to activate how you are going to act for the rest of the day. Of course, I hate smog and, of course, I react to this and that, but it doesn’t have much to do with anything.

Your first paintings in 1960, 1961, and 1962, however, because of their banal imagery did put you into the “pop” bag. Take Necktie, for instance.

At that time I was trying to find an empty area to work in that wasn’t

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