Horizon Home Sweet Home / Slush Thrust
F-111 (1964–65), The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (1997–98), and Horizon Home Sweet Home (1970) are works central to understanding Rosenquist’s idea of “painting as immersion.” All are room environments that invade the visitor’s peripheral vision, encompassing the viewer on multiple sides. Horizon Home Sweet Home is distinct, however, as variegated panels feature intense color and reflective silver Mylar without painted figurative imagery. Additionally, the work has a performative element: the floor within the room installation is—at allotted times—filled with knee-high fog to further orient or disorient the visitor within the work and replace the natural horizon line with a dreamier vision.
I had an idea about dislocation in space…. To achieve the feeling of dematerialization, I wanted to create an effect of painted panels that appeared to be floating in space…. It was an extension of my concept of dissolving the painting as an object, immersing the viewer in the painting, and making it an environment—color as a state of mind.
Horizon Home Sweet Home is comprised of 27 panels (21 painted canvases and 6 panels stretched with silver Mylar), installed around the four walls of a room at varying heights. (Ever adaptable, the artist temporarily increased the size and number of panels in his 1972 retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art. He later incorporated replacement panels from a similar artwork, Slush Thrust , intertwining the two works for posterity.) “I chose the colors by experimenting with how they would react to the different effects…. Some [panels] would be one color, blue or white; others would be multiple colors, shaded from red to darkness and from pink to darkness to orange. The effect was that of a horizon or a sunset. All these horizons searching for home.” It was originally featured in the front room of the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York in 1970 and in the artist’s early retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 1972, and most recently at Museum Ludwig in Cologne and at ARoS in Aarhus, Denmark in 2017 and 2018.
The fog along the floor is an ephemeral part of the work; not only does it fade away within a short period of time, but its presence is featured only on limited occasions as allotted by each venue. For this reason, the work is most frequently encountered without the fog element. In 2007, Rosenquist commented, “I’ve shown it about four times, most recently at the Miller Gallery in conjunction with my Guggenheim retrospective [in 2003]. It didn’t look bad without the fog either, it was a minimalist installation before its time.”
In 1970, with Horizon Home Sweet Home, I was continuing experiments I’d started in 1967 with Forest Ranger. Now I took this idea further, using shimmering reflective Mylar panels alternating with painted canvases and dissolving the gallery floor in dry ice, so you walked through the exhibition utterly immersed in the environment and became an integral part of the painting.
—All artist quotes are from James Rosenquist with David Dalton, Painting Below Zero: Notes on a Life with Art (New York: Knopf, 2009). The first paragraph adapts and expands text from ARoS Aarhus Art Museum Gallery Guide for the 2018 exhibition James Rosenquist: Painting as Immersion.
You walked through the exhibition utterly immersed in the environment and became an integral part of the painting
It was an extension of my concept of dissolving the painting as an object, immersing the viewer in the painting, and making it an environment—color as a state of mind
Installation video of Horizon Home Sweet Home in James Rosenquist: Painting as Immersion at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark, on view April 14–August 19, 2018. Video: Maja Theodoraki, courtesy of ARoS