In 17th-century France the still life was considered the lowliest of genres, art historian John Wilmerding writes in the lushly illustrated catalog for this illuminating exhibition. Artists like Cézanne and Matisse brought the still life into the fold of Modernism, but one might say it had its apotheosis in Pop, a movement that excelled at exalting the banal.
The treasure-rich show, which its curator, Mr. Wilmerding, has packed with loans from numerous major museums and collections (including a funky vacuum-and-fluorescent-light piece from 1980 by Jeff Koons, courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles director Jeffrey Deitch), is divided into four themes—food, flowers, housewares and, intriguingly, body parts.
The show reveals the widely divergent tones of Pop’s practitioners through some clever and occasionally cute curating. Wayne Thiebaud’s painting Hot Dog with Mustard (1964), its subject