In 1954, Marisol began making sculpture, initially taking influence from pre-Columbian art. At first, she worked on a relatively small scale, but within a few years, she began to focus on life-size, totemic figures. The artist combined wood with painting and found objects to create oftentimes quizzical or satirical mixed-media assemblages. When Pop art emerged in the 1960s, Marisol’s works were often associated with the movement. However, she did not share the preoccupation with mass media and mass culture that drove her friends and peers, such as Andy Warhol.
Tea for Three brings together three heads mounted atop narrow rectangular bodies painted yellow, red, and blue: the colors of the Venezuelan flag. These merge to create a single entity with rocker-like feet. The clown-like head of each character is actually a found hat form the artist then painted, carved, and adorned with a plaster mouth and glass eyes. Two hands are also present in the center of the sculpture. The larger of the two is based on the artist’s hand. It is paired with a small, child-like palm that extends forth a cup of tea—a gesture that seemingly beckons the viewer to join them.
Label from Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s, June 30–December 30, 2018