«In Bologna, at Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m, until June 30th twenty-five works by Mel Ramos are being exhibited (catalogue realized by the Gallery) by the 65-years-old, world wide famous, Pop Art artist from California. Ramos most famous artworks are surely from the pin-ups series, provocative feminine nudes painted by the artist following the advertising's and illustration's graphic ways of the newspapers during the Fifties and Sixties. The artist used these works as caricature of the commercialization of sex-appeal, single aspect of a wider degeneration of costume and taste where Warhol's consumerist man had fallen into. Ramos has not forgotten the curvy girls which brought him such a good fortune, as he continues to paint them. It is maybe still not clear whether his works are appreciated for the mockery of these playmates or if scantily clad women have an actual charm on the male audience. Pin-ups are now included, not resumed by popular press, no more in Vargas' or Elvgren's illustrations, now they are part of the art history's masterpieces. A funny and irreverent effect which confirms Ramos's sarcastic streak, simple and effective, which creates figurative pastiches where beauty and ugliness, ancient and modern, cultured and popular become confused, startling us for their actual distinction».
Vittorio Sgarbi, Oggi, 2001
The exhibition at Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m. is dedicated to Mel Ramos, one of the Americans artists belonging to Pop Art's first generation. Famous for his sensual pin-ups, for this exhibition at Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m. in Bologna he presents a group of 25 works, some of them specifically made for this exhibition, dedicated to the theme of beauty. On big canvas, realized with a pastel colour palette, deliberately kitsch, Ramos celebrates a feminine ideal intertwining mythological figures and beauties of our time: an "Olympus" which reflects values and aesthetic standards from our mass culture. The artist creates an ironic and fun reinterpretation of art history contaminating it with mass media's language. Galatea, extracted from Ovid's Metamorphoses, mythical Pigmalion's bride, becomes half statue and half starlet, something between a Canova's sculpture and sexy movie, posing uninhibited on the basis of classical sculpture's repertoire as in Galatea and Eros, Galatea and Pan, Galatea n. 4 with lion. Other figures lay on cigar, Hav-a-Havanna; they cling to bottles, Campari: You like it, it likes you; they stretch out on plates of candies and fish, Caciucco Cutie, Donut Doll, Rubarb Ruby; in alluring poses as in calendars. They are figures in between parody and the desacralization of the collective imaginary, and they use classical quotation to analyze with critical clarity the history of feminine myth, of ideal beauty and of the perfection of form. Mel Ramos contaminates modern art's classical iconography, the glossy and advertising one from the contemporary world to be ironic on media plagiarism and on the myth of the image, and even to show us how much our mass culture uses art as a source of ideas and icons, decontextualizing them and depriving them of their original meaning. In the paper-based series "The drawing lesson" the model poses next to her sketch in a double meaning game of the beauty and art of freedom of expression in contrast with advertising's impersonal and repetitive images.