Art: Bronx Is Beautiful

It is not given to many artists to find themselves shoved to the periphery by movements they helped provoke, but that is what happened to Larry Rivers. One critic's claim that "the innovations of Rauschenberg, and to a lesser degree Johns and the Pop artists, are incomprehensible without Rivers" is plainly excessive. Nonetheless, Rivers built an important bridge between the painterliness and "touch" of Abstract Expressionism and the mass imagery of Pop—pinups, photos, print, mixed media.

In the process, he became one of the first American examples of the artist as celebrity, wielding what Harold Rosenberg...

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