“Larry’s painting style was unique — it wasn’t Abstract Expressionism and it wasn’t Pop, it fell into the period in between.” –Andy Warhol
One of the founding fathers of Pop Art, Larry Rivers (1923-2002) remains a difficult artist to categorize. In his over 50 year career, Rivers was an accomplished Jazz musician, a painter, sculptor, poet, actor, television personality, filmmaker, a nightclub emcee, a lecturer, author and teacher. His paintings, which often employ historical imagery, formed a bridge between the vigorous, painterly brushstrokes of Abstract Expressionism, and the commercial images of Pop Art. In the current exhibition: Larry Rivers: The Boston Massacre, LUAG presents a 1970 portfolio of the artist’s embossed and collaged screenprints, what Rivers called “visual afterthoughts” on this highly fraught historical event.
Rivers loads his images with post-modern tension, simultaneously celebrating and undermining the iconic historical imagery that is his subject. Redcoats painted pink, erotically suggestive bayonets, and crossed-out codpieces all draw attention to Rivers’ immersion in 1970s gay camp, in addition to other social concerns of his time, including the civil rights struggle and Vietnam.
Larry Rivers: The Boston Massacre will run from February 3 – May 24, 2014 at the Gallery at Rauch Business Center. The exhibition is drawn from Lehigh University Art Galleries’ extensive Teaching Collection of over 11,000 art works.