The popularity of his works is evident in the fact that since 1959 he has participated in more than 120 group shows. He has enjoyed great success and critical acclaim as an adventuresome artist with the creativity and sense of humor it takes to remain on top. Mel Ramos received his first important recognition in the early 1960s. Ramos, along with other artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and James Rosenquist, produced art works that celebrated aspects of popular culture as represented in mass media
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Ramos was born in 1935 at Sacramento, California. Between 1954 and 1958 he studied at the Sacramento City College, the San José State College and the Sacramento State College, finishing with an M.A. From 1958, he taught at various institutions including Elk Grove High School, Mira Lama High School and California State College. In 1962-63 he began a series of garishly colored super-heroes taken from comic strips using a thick oleaginous pigment. In 1963 he was first included in a collective exhibition in Pop Goes the East at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston.
In 1964 he had his first one-man exhibition at the Bianchini Gallery, New York. In 1965 he developed a specific kind of Pop Art iconography by combining nude pin-up girls from American magazines and advertisements with branded products. In 1966 he exhibited at the Galerie Ricke, Kassel. In 1967 he had a solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art; In 1969 he was represented in the exhibition Human Concerns at the Whitney Museum, New York, and had a one-man exhibition at the Gegenverkehr, Aachen. He exhibited at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, in 1972, and was represented at the Pop Art exhibition at the Whitney Museum, New York, in 1974. In 1975 he had a retrospective at the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, and in 1977 at the Oakland Museum, California. In 1978 he was included in the exhibition Art About Art, Whitney Museum, New York and at the Church Fine Arts Gallery, University of Nevada, Reno, and the Galeria Plura, Milan, Italy.
In 1980 The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University presented Mel Ramos: A Twenty Year Survey. 1981 saw a solo show at the Louis K. Meisel Gallery in New York City; in 1985 the Meisel Gallery mounted another, The Four Seasons, and he has been showing regularly with them since then: Beauty And The Beast in 1989, The Artist's Studio in 1991, Mel Ramos - The Heroines of 1962-64, and in 1993 Mel Ramos: The Unfinished Painting Series. Ramos has also been featured at the Hokin/Kaufman Gallery, Chicago (1986); Mel Ramos - Early Paintings was presented by Galerie Tanja Grunert, Cologne, West Germany in 1986, and Studio Trisorio, Naples, Italy featured his works in 1987. In 1994-95 Mel Ramos - Retrospective, a traveling exhibition in Germany and Austria, was shown at the Kunstverein Lingen, Lingen; the Mannheimer Kunstverein, Mannheim; the Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel; and then went to Vienna under title Mel Ramos: Pop Art Images," showing at the Hochscule fur Angewandte Kunst.
Some critical observers of the "art scene" persist in classifying Mel Ramos as a Pop Artist. His identification with the Pop movement of the 1960's was much too narrow to account for the braoder context of his paintings. His humor is not satire of ridicule. His "parodies"are respectful, affectionate tributes, a celebration of images with personal meanining.