April 18, 2009 - Fondazione Prada - John Wesley in Venice
April 18, 2009

John Wesley in Venice

Suzanna and the Lugosis (May I Cut in?), 1972
50×30 inches / 127×94 cm
Acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist and
Fredericks & Freiser Gallery

John Wesley
a project by Fondazione Prada

June – October 2009

Venice, Isle of San Giorgio
Fondazione Giorgio Cini


Fondazione Prada presents, within the spaces of Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, an anthological exhibition, curated by Germano Celant, of the American artist John Wesley (Los Angeles, 1928).

The event, that will take place in parallel with the Venice Biennale, will be the larger and more complete exhibition ever realized on Wesley’s activity, among the most important and significative figures in American modern art.

On this occasion, more that 150 works from private collections and prestigeous international museums will be presented.

Aiming at a deep examination of Wesley’s complex language, the exhibition will maintain a strictly historical approach. Starting from the first works realized at the beginning of the 60′s, like paintings and objects, it will develop along the path of his production until his more recent works, marked by a kind of creative freedom that underlines the artist’s deep-rooted experimental and innovative nature.

Grouped with Pop Art for his use of popular subjects deriving from cartoon characters and advertising photos, and later on linked, due to the essentiality and compositional rigour of his production, to Minimal Art (to such an extent that Donald Judd and Dan Flavin will be counted among his greatest admirers), Wesley, as a matter of fact, eludes a simple critical definition.

Besides the imaginary of Pop and reductionism, Wesley’s works convey an intricate personal world where the artist’s most intimate feelings are intertwined: Wesley losing his father prematurely, the memory of some of American historical personalities, the references to animals and to erotic subjects and quotations from Art Nouveau or Japanese iconography. A subtle flair for the amusing and surreal side of life, that contributes to enhance the inneffable and enigmatic elements in Wesley’s art.


Title: John Wesley
Dates: June to October 2009
Exhibition venue: Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Isle of San Giorgio Maggiore – Venice
Entrance: free
Publication: Fondazione Prada
Information: Fondazione Prada – ph +39-02 535709200,
fax +39-02 535709213


Press Office: Fondazione Prada – ph +39 02 535709200,
fax +39 02 53509213

Fondazione Prada
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