On May 18th, VMFA will offer free admission to the special exhibition Pop Art and Beyond: Tom Wesselmann as part of the American Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) Art Museum Day. The celebration complements International Museum Day, an annual worldwide event coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a proud member of both AAMD and ICOM and we are delighted to have this official day to salute museums internationally,” Director Alex Nyerges said. “VMFA is open 365 days a year, general admission is always free, and we are pleased to offer free tickets on this day as our part of the celebration.”
Art Museum Day is dedicated to highlighting the importance of museums within the global community. In 2012, more than 120 museums across North America participated. The theme for this Art Museum Day is “museums (memory + creativity) = social change,” emphasizing the ability for museums to influence and engage society.
About Pop Art and Beyond
American artist Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004) is one of the leading figures in the American Pop Art movement with a career spanning more than four decades. Opening April 6, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts offers the first comprehensive North American retrospective of Wesselmann’s work. VMFA is the only East Coast venue for this exhibition.
Wesselmann and his contemporaries – Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist – forged the Pop Art movement by creating large scale, dynamic compositions, experimenting with new media, and using images from everyday popular culture. Humor, sensuality, and innovation were common elements of the Pop Art movement.
Made famous by his Great American Nudes, Wesselmann reinterpreted the history of art and past definitions of beauty, seeking to canonize a new American beauty in bold color. Wesselmann continued to reinvent himself and produce highly original work long after the Pop Art movement peaked.
The exhibition will feature additional works from the artist’s most significant series, including his earliest metal pieces using laser steel-cutting, abstract collages, and innovative still lifes. Some of the objects included in the exhibition have never before been publicly exhibited. VMFA’s permanent collection includes two major Wesselmann paintings.
About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
With a collection of art that spans the globe and more than 5,000 years, plus a wide array of special exhibitions, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is recognized as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. The museum’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art, including one of the nation’s finest collections of American Art, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and the largest public collection of Fabergé outside Russia. VMFA is home to acclaimed collections of English Silver and Ancient, Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British Sporting and Modern & Contemporary art, as well as renowned African, East Asian and South Asian holdings. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its 76-year history. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.