Indepth Arts News: |
"American Pop Icons: Works by Eight Key Artists"
2003-05-19 until 2003-11-02
Guggenheim Hermitage Museum
Las Vegas, NV,
USA United States of America
The Guggenheim Hermitage Museum opened
its third exhibition, a selection of works by eight of the most
important precursors and participants in the Pop art movement. American
Pop Icons traces the origins of the Pop Art movement from practical
beginnings as commercial and consumer imagery to the full-scale
celebrity of the genre, through the art of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper
Johns, Jim Dine, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist,
Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. American Pop Icons will remain on view
through November 2, 2003.
In a statement, Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim
Foundation, said of the Pop exhibition: "American Pop Icons is the third
major presentation at the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum as part of its
ongoing mission to bring many of the world's finest masterpieces to Las
Vegas. This show focuses on a key moment in American art, when painting
began to reflect artists' engagement with the popular culture that
surrounded them. The Guggenheim Museum in New York has a long tradition
of exhibiting and collecting the work of the American Pop artists, and
it is a great pleasure to share that tradition with our growing audience
in Las Vegas."
By identifying key moments in the development of Pop Art, such as early
works by Robert Rauschenberg that bridged the gap between Abstract
Expressionism and Pop, American Pop Icons explores the sociological
phenomenon of Pop through images that may be read as both an unabashed
celebration and a scathing critique of popular culture. This concise
overview takes as its point of departure the Guggenheim's seminal 1963
Pop exhibition Six Painters and the Object, organized by British art
historian, curator, and critic Lawrence Alloway. For the present
exhibition, Wesselmann and Oldenburg have been added to Alloway's
original group of six.
The exhibition has been organized by Susan Davidson, Curator, Solomon
R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
American Pop Icons explores as it subject the artists who emerged, or
more appropriately, burst upon the art world, particularly in New York
and Los Angeles in the early 1960's. The artists were responding to the
newly formed consumer culture in the United States - a result of the
amazing growth that transpired in America from the end of the Second
World War through the Cold War period of the 1950s. Those who came to be
identified as Pop artists embraced consumerism as a fitting subject of
their art. Expression and gesture-hallmarks of Abstract Expressionism,
which preceded Pop in the late 1940s and early 1950s-were replaced with
cool, detached, mechanical illustrations of common objects, often based
on appropriated advertising images. Pop art proposed a new kind of
subjectivity, one that did not rely on an artist's singular expressive
gesture. While many of the Abstract Expressionists had turned
hermetically inward, the Pop artists turned outward for aesthetic
In Pop art, the narrative or epic impulse of Abstract Expressionism was
replaced with straightforward depictions of the everyday, and the
mass-produced was afforded the same significance as unique works of fine
art. Basing their techniques, style, and imagery on certain aspects of
mass reproduction, media-derived imagery, and consumer society, Pop
artists gleefully eroded the gulf between high art and low art, taking
inspiration from advertising, pulp magazines, billboards, movies,
television, comic strips, and shop-window displays.
Oil and Magna on three joined canvases,
10 x 18 feet.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. 69.1885.a-c.
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.