So I took myself along to the Art Gallery of NSW for the "most extensive exhibition of Pop Art ever showcased in Australia". Being a big fan of popular culture and the Pop Art movement, it was exciting and very informative to have this retrospective exhibition on in town. At the entrance was large sign with Richard Hamilton's famous definition of Pop Art, being that Pop Art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and Big Business. This idea has very much influenced my Juicy Hues design store - a gift shop full of brightly coloured, fairly expendable designs that aim to capture the essence of what is popular for the mass market.
The exhibition was divided up into sections according to various groups and time frames, such as the American artists, focusing more on mass media / fame and consumerism ideas, the Euro pop and British pop artists, focusing more on post war notions and more political or social ideas and the Australian artists, some of whom were trying to make social statements, a lot of collage work some more commercial artists. It was interesting that a lot of the pop artists had backgrounds in commercial or graphic art.
It was satisfying to see a good representation of fairly famous works from the most famous pop artists. Andy Warhol was well represented from early work such as Elvis and Marilyn prints, his Campbell's soup cans were on display, through to his Mao prints and ending with his collaborations with Basquiat and one of his last self portraits. Other famous artists on display include Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Martin Sharp...many others...
There was even a cool "pop café" where you could buy caramel popcorn and various other drinks and fun treats and a game of pop twister that you could join in with. I tried to restrain myself in the "pop shop" and only bought a small book of Andy Warhol quotes, though I was seriously considering the blow up pink flamingo !!
If you live in Sydney, the Pop to Popism exhibition is on until March 2015.
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.