Tomaselli to speak at Steinberg rededication

Described by The New York Times as “contemporary art’s most technically gifted purveyor of psychedelia,” Fred Tomaselli frequented and drew inspiration from southern California’s punk rock and performance art scene of the 1980s. His fantastical paintings, which often include allegorical figures, are created on wood and encased in high-gloss resin.

Tomaselli will discuss his art at the rededication of Steinberg Hall at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23. Joining him will be WUSTL alumnus James Cohan, owner of the James Cohan Gallery in New York and Shanghai.

Of his work, Tomaselli said, “Painting has traditionally been seen as a window onto another reality, a kind of rectangular utopia of relief. I am interested in the relationship between this myth and the broader culture that contains it. … My work aims to be escapist while simultaneously exploring the perceptual and cultural dynamics of escapism.”

Tomaselli’s art has been exhibited in solo gallery shows in Berlin (2005) and London (2004). His most recent solo museum exhibition, “Monsters of Paradise,” originated at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland, and traveled to three other European museums, concluding at the Rose Museum of Art at Brandeis University last September.

His paintings have been featured on the international biennial art circuit and are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles) and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

Tomaselli lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is represented by the James Cohan Gallery and the White Cube Gallery in London.

Cohan, who graduated from WUSTL in 1982 with a degree in art history and archaeology, has been active in the contemporary art world for more than 20 years as a curator, adviser, artist agent and art dealer.

His gallery represents leading contemporary artists and maintains a diverse exhibition program.

Tomaselli’s presentation also is part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts’ spring lecture series.

— Cynthia Georges