Larry Rivers
Stencil Camel 1978

Larry Rivers was an American artist, musician, filmmaker and occasional actor.  He was born in the Bronx, New York as Yitzhok Loiza Grossberg to Russian-Jewish parents. He changed his name to Larry Rivers in 1940, after being introduced as "Larry Rivers and the Mudcats" at a local New York City pub. From 1940-45 he worked as a jazz saxophonist in New York City, and he studied at the Juilliard School of Music in 1945-46, along with Miles Davis, with whom he remained friends until Davis's death in 1991.

Established as one of America's most important postwar artists, Rivers is considered by many scholars to be the "Godfather" and "Grand Father" of Pop art, because he was one of the first artists to really merge non-objective, non-narrative art with narrative and objective abstraction.

Rivers took up painting in 1945 and studied at the Hans Hofmann School from 1947 - 48, and then at New York University. He was a pop artist of the New York School, reproducing everyday objects of American popular culture as art. He was one of eleven New York artists featured in the opening exhibition at the Terrain Gallery in 1955.

Rivers work wasn’t Pop and it wasn’t Abstract Expressionism, it was more of an ongoing dialogue with art and ideas, an expansive bridge between two significant art movements.