Attaching a singularly defining label to Larry Rivers has remained an elusive task for many who have tried to contextualize his over 50 year contribution to the arts. Rivers was an accomplished Jazz musician, a painter, sculptor, poet, actor, television personality, filmmaker, an MC at nightclubs, a popular personality on the lecture circuit, author and teacher. He’s been aptly referred to as “a renaissance man,” but perhaps he’s most often recognized and ironically at times equally underappreciated as one of if not the key founding fathers of Pop Art.
Andy Warhol never made it a secret that he was influenced by Rivers art, but in perhaps a more revealing quote from the book “Popism” Warhol recognizes Rivers unique persona as an influential ingredient in the development of Pop Art. Warhol said, “Larry’s painting style was unique – it wasn’t Abstract Expressionism and it wasn’t Pop, it fell into the period in between. But his personality was very Pop.”
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“Observation” by Larry Rivers, 1970