Robert Colescott: A Retrospective
February 24 – April 16 1989
“Colescott’s work is not the consumerist romance of the Pop artists. One of his techniques is to appropriate images from the masterpieces of art history and from advertising, charging the original characters or replacing them with surrogates in such a way as to ask the question "what if …?” What if you switched the sex of the figures in classical image Laocoön? What if you made the Flemish bride in Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini wedding portrait black? What would our reaction be and what kind of world would we have if these were the normal situations? … Colescott’s increasing inclination toward allegorical formulations occurs at a time when his influence, like that of other “old-time” figurationists such as Leon Golub and Peter Dean, is beginning to be felt in the art world. At a moment when “appropriation” is the critical catchword, Colescott is rapidly moving to personally distilled and universal statements about the role of individuals in history and the progression of cultural achievements.“ - Lowery Stokes Sims, Robert Colescott (San Jose: San Jose Museum of Art, 1987).
Traveling exhibition organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California