Alan Oldfield, Cliché, c 1968. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas 183 x 152.5 cm. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1969.
Pop to popism
until 1 March 2015
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road
The Domain Sydney
T +61 9225 1700
Pop to popism explores the origins of pop art, its pivotal role in the aesthetic revolutions of the 1960s, and its legacy in the early years of postmodernism. This major exhibition incorporates the first ever survey of Australian pop art and is curated from an antipodean perspective, tracing the influences and lines of cultural exchange that shaped the development of a local pop style, previously unacknowledged in historical accounts of the period.
Spanning three decades, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, the exhibition includes 200 works by more than 70 artists, among them some of pop’s most significant practitioners. A broad selection of painting and sculpture by artists working in the United States, Britain and various parts of Europe is on loan from more than 50 public and private collections. Many works are being shown in Australia for the first time, and hitherto overlooked women artists (including Rosalyn Drexler and Bridgid McLean) are restored to the pop canon.
Pop to popism opens with pop art’s genesis in the post-war period of economic and social transformation, profiling seminal works in collage and assemblage that brought consumer goods and mass media imagery into the realm of “high” art.
The second section surveys the emergence of pop art as a mainstream movement in the West during the 1960s, on the one hand entwined with the increasing dominance of American culture internationally, and on the other inflected by regional circumstances and perspectives. In this context, Australian pop art is revealed to be an energetic, hybrid variant of the styles that evolved in the so-called global centres of London and New York, more unruly and often more politicised in spirit.
The final section of the exhibition charts the rejuvenation of pop art’s appropriation tactics by a younger generation of artists in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In Australia this tendency was known as “popism” and notably brought a critique of media saturation and the authority of images into dialogue with considerations of class, gender, identity and place.
Pop to popism is organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and runs until 1 March 2015. The exhibition is curated by Wayne Tunnicliffe, Head Curator, Australian Art, with Anneke Jaspers, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, and is presented as part of the Sydney International Art Series.
On Saturday 28 February, a keynote lecture by Professor Hal Foster (Princeton University), “On the rapport between photography and painting in pop art,” will mark the final days of the exhibition.
The fully illustrated catalogue includes essays by Michael Desmond, Anneke Jaspers, Chris McAuliffe, Justin Paton, Ann Stephen and Wayne Tunnicliffe, among others, providing fresh insights into pop and popism.
Valerio Adami / Howard Arkley / Enrico Baj / Jean-Michel Basquiat / Vivienne Binns / Peter Blake / Derek Boshier / Robert Boynes / KP Brehmer / Mike Brown / Patrick Caulfield / Ross Crothall / Juan Davila / Jim Dine / Rosalyn Drexler / Richard Dunn / Erró / Öyvind Fahlström / Gilbert & George / Richard Hamilton / Duane Hanson / Keith Haring / David Hockney / KH Hödicke / Robert Indiana / Alain Jacquet / Jasper Johns / Allen Jones / Edward Kienholz / Peter Kingston / RB Kitaj / Jeff Koons / Maria Kozic / Barbara Kruger / Colin Lanceley / Richard Larter / Tim Lewis / Roy Lichtenstein / Konrad Lueg / Bridgid McLean / Marisol / Claes Oldenburg / Alan Oldfield / Eduardo Paolozzi / Peter Phillips / Sigmar Polke / Peter Powditch / Richard Prince / Robert Rauschenberg / Martial Raysse / Ken Reinhard / Gerhard Richter / Robert Rooney / James Rosenquist / Martha Rosler / Edward Ruscha / Niki De Saint Phalle / Gareth Sansom / Martin Sharp / Michael Allen Shaw / Garry Shead / Cindy Sherman / Wayne Thiebaud / Imants Tillers / Joe Tilson / Tony Tuckson / Peter Tyndall / Wolf Vostell / Andy Warhol / Dick Watkins / Jenny Watson / Tom Wesselmann / Brett Whiteley