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The Vocabulary Lesson

The Vocabulary Lesson, 1989, Oil on Canvas
Larry Rivers (American, 1923 – 2003)

Poet, curator, and critic, Frank O’Hara said about Larry Rivers, “Larry entered the scene like a demented telephone. Nobody knew whether to put it in the library, the kitchen or the toilet, but it was electric.” Changing his name from Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg at age 17, Larry Rivers went on to have a multi-faceted career, painting, making sculpture, acting, writing poetry, composing and playing music. Rivers often incorporated everyday objects into his work, as we see in this piece, a reference to the mundane charts reproduced in language instructional text books, pointing out the parts of the face in French.