Pop to Popism

Art Life , Exhibitions Nov 01, 2014 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Pop art is a genre most synonymous with art produced in the 60s by artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Don’t, however, let the advertising for Pop to Popism lead you to think this show or its concept is an overseas import. Among other things, Pop to Popism maintains a local take on the history of pop, suggesting a version that is more globally expansive and inclusive than the one we’re used to hearing.


Senior Curator Wayne Tunnicliffe has structured the display of more than 200 works into seven largely chronological themes. Beginning with the collage works and assemblages of the post World War II era, the exhibition leads the audience through the 1950s British pop scene and its relationship with Australian artists working here at the same time. In the later 1960s, sections on ‘the big five’ of American pop hang alongside other less well-known works from the West Coast and other parts of that country. Like that from Europe, Australian art has a dedicated section – in what is claimed to be the first survey of Australian pop art.

Pop to Popism argues that art hasn’t suddenly ‘gone global’ – it’s always been that way. On the one hand it’s an art form considered easily digestible and unthreatening. Rivalling that are the artists’ keen observations and representation of art as a capitalist commodity. Pop to Popism is keen to encourage the viewer to think more broadly about how the pop movement sits in the history of art and why it might still be relevant today.

Among the artists featured in the exhibition are Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Brett Whiteley, Richard Hamilton, Martin Sharp, Gilbert and George, Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Peter Blake, Richard Larter, Niki de Saint Phalle and Maria Kozic.

Until March 1
</aArt Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Pic: Roy Lichtenstein, In the car, 1963. Oil and magna on canvas, 172×203cm, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

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Sharne Wolff

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