“Mel Ramos (…) began painting photorealistic pictures juxtaposing Playmate-like nudes and brand-name commodities against blank or nearly blank backgrounds. In a highly condensed form they embodied the Playboy ethos: the smartly produced blend of intellectual sophistication, discerning consumerism and fun-loving hedonism.” – Ken Johnson, “The Image is Erotic. But is it Art?” The New York Times, 20 January 2009, p. AR30
American Pop artist Mel Ramos is known for combining highly idealized female nudes and iconic imagery of popular culture. Candy bars, Coca-Cola bottles and cigars are typically presented alongside celebrities of the day, such as Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Aniston and Scarlett Johansson. His artworks’ glossy flatness of pin-ups and their apparent objectification of women has drawn intense condemnation from feminists and art critics alike, despite Mel Ramos’s assertion that his works result from Surrealist-inspired “absurdist conjunctions.” Others argue that Ramos is utilizing advertising and mass media clichés in order to act as a mirror to society. In addition to his more provocative nudes, Mel Ramos is also famous for comic-book inspired works that incorporate popular icons such as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. In 2010, a retrospective was held in Germany in the extensive exhibition Mel Ramos: 50 Jahre Pop Art, staged at the Kunsthalle in Tübingen and the Villa Stuck in Munich. Further major exhibitions were presented at the Albertina in Vienna in 2011 and in his hometown of Sacramento in 2012 at the Crocker Art Museum. His works are to be found in all major collections, particularly those of American museums.
Mel Ramos, Miss Liberty