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Indepth Arts News:

"POP Art: US.UK Connections, 1956-1966"
2001-01-26 until 2001-05-13
Menil Collection
Houston, TX, USA

Pop Art is often considered an essentially American phenomenon, but in fact British artists and theorists in the 1950s were the first to debate and formulate Pops main tenets. Eventually a number of artists on both sides of the Atlantic would radically redefine the subject matter deemed fit for aesthetic use in the visual arts.

Pop Art: U.S./U.K. Connections 1956–1966 looks at only artwork by American and British practitioners that is considered pure Pop. This definition of Pop rests on the adoption of preexisting or received images from mass media sources of advertising, television, and movies—images that convey the personalities, common objects, and scenery of vernacular culture. The techniques utilized however varied: the Americans generally used a more reductive method, arriving at a centralized iconic image, while the British preferred an episodic approach that generated an implied narrative. As the exhibition makes clear, Pop Art promoted no specific agenda beyond the investigation of the prevailing American environment.

In an attempt to link British and American Pop Art, this exhibition includes artworks selected to point to its interrelated developments, with a special focus on less often seen or published but equally important Pop examples. The American selection stresses an evaluation of Pop Art from the vantage points of its two principal cities: New York and Los Angeles. In contrast, British Pop Art originated from one center: London. For the decade examined, this new art form would connect the aesthetic concerns of all three cities.

The speed at which Pop Art excited the popular imagination was a corollary to the very brief period of time in which Pop Art blossomed. Nevertheless, classic Pop manifestations would continue to reverberate throughout both countries, not only through high art, but also in the presentation and packaging of the popular culture from which it arose.

IMAGE:
Richard Hamilton (British, b. 1922)
Interior study (a), 1964
Collection of Swindon Museum and Art Gallery,
Swindon Borough Council, England
@ 2000 Arts Rights Society (ARS),
New York/DACS, London


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