Richard Hawkins

I got interested in Pop again a few years back when all my painting students were trying to draw a historical lineage starting with Duchamp but skipping all the way to Ryman, leaving out about forty years of missing (and apparently “just formal”) time. Consequently they all painted “stripes.” What’s intriguing about such a naive discourse is that the foremost purveyors of the readymade—Rauschenberg and Johns—get erased.

Lately, though, I’ve been so involved in looking at and making paintings that Johns, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, and Warhol (to limit Pop to only New Yorkers, Americans, men, and painters) are among the last artists I’d seek out. American Pop painting can be about as interesting as pondering a stop sign. Its particular shade of red or the shapely curve of its “S” are pretty much beside the point. Something crucial regarding the visual (as opposed to the linguistic)

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