The University of South Florida is remembering the work of famed pop artist and printmaker and longtime Tampa Bay area resident James Rosenquist with a special exhibition.
The comprehensive show includes work dating back to the early 1970s, when Rosenquist's connection to Tampa and USF's Graphicstudio began.
USF’s Contemporary Art Museum features art, prints and sculptures from over four decades in the show: James Rosenquist: Tampa exhibition. It continues through Dec. 9.
It was coordinated by Peter Foe, Curator of Collections at the museum, offering in-depth explorations of Rosenquist’s style, techniques, and insights into his personal life.
A signature event on Nov. 30, called Secrets of Rosenquist Prints, offered an extensive walking tour through the exhibit with admirers and personal friends of Rosenquist’s. Some were mentored by Rosenquist, who they said was passionate about supporting students and emerging artists.
They discussed what inspired the artist, as were the innovative techniques used to bring Rosenquist’s creative visions to life. Florida’s natural beauty, politics, and personal relationships were often muses, they said.
WUSF News spoke with longtime friend and collaborator Patrick Lindhardt, who related what inspired Rosenquist.
“Jim himself proved to be such an amazing man," he said. "He was always considerate and thoughtful of what he was doing and giving me reasons why he produced his work," Lindhardt said.
"He was just that kind of guy, thinking about all of us, by his contributions to the university and purchasing pieces by lesser-known artists to give them cash flow. Jim was really an artist.”
Lindhardt shared a personal story when he and Rosenquist were in Manhattan.
As they drove to the home of Rosenquist’s parents for lunch, Rosenquist stopped halfway there and asked if Lindhardt if he “wanted to see the tree.”
Rosenquist led him down an embankment to a seemingly nondescript tree.
He put his hand on the tree.
“ 'This is it. The tree that Jackson Pollock hit when he died,' " Lindhardt recalled being told. "He (Rosenquist) knew how important it was for me to see it. He was considerate and I’ll never forget the man.”