‘It is a mark of the age we live in that much art seems to have lost the transgressive power it was once accused of possessing. Our daily saturation of images plays a part, as does a sense of fatigue following a century and a half of artistic provocation. In the midst of the barbarisms of the real, the fictional no longer has the same capacity to shock. What use is there for Guernica in an age of Guernicas? To engage with an audience inoculated against and suspicious of direct confrontation, the more astute, radically minded artists opt for the Trojan Horse approach. One such example is James Rosenquist’s F-111 (1964-65), which appears initially as a frivolous even decadent pop art folly, but gradually reveals itself to be a clever and damning indictment of a hegemony that has commodified everything, even youth and death. And yet the work appears to be celebratory and was embraced by an art-world given to commodification as well as the very hegemony it opposed.’
Looking back at the late great prophetic artist Gretchen Bender, currently featured at Tate Liverpool.