In the early 1960s, Mel Ramos (b. 1935), one of the first artists to embrace Pop art, abandoned Abstract Expressionism and began to produce the work for which he is best known: glossy, flat paintings of idealised, voluptuous female nudes emerging from banana peels, lounging on top of cigars or caressing bottles of ketchup.
Taking advertising's enduring maxim 'sex sells' to its most extreme ends, Ramos poses the nude female figure in erotic, occasionally even vulgar, positions on top of the most banal consumer goods. Beauty queens, martini glasses, nude Hollywood starlets and hamburgers are given equal attention in Ramos' artistic universe; if Ramos has been criticised for commodifying the female form it must also be acknowledged that he eroticises the commodity.
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