Above: David Hockney / Portrait of an artist 1972, synthetic polymer paint on canvas 213.3 x 304.8 cm. The Lewis Collection. © David Hockney No1 US Trust
Exclusive to Sydney, part of the Sydney International Art Series, Pop to popism is an exhibition that opened with much hype. For weeks prior to opening, bright yellow shipping containers were dotted around the city and we eagerly anticipated the show. And so we should have; this is a truly rich exhibition.
Above: Roy Lichtenstein / In the car 1963, oil and magna on canvas, 172 x 203.5 cm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Purchased 1980. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Not only is Pop to popism huge, with over 200 works showing, it is unique. As well as masterpieces from the icons of Pop art – Roy Lichtenstein’s first comic-style painting Look Mickey, Andy Warhol’s Triple Elvis and David Hockney’s Portrait of an artist for example, for the first time, Australian artists, including Martin Sharp, Howard Arkley, Brett Whiteley and Maria Kozic, are showcased with their international peers. Having Australian works alongside those more famous gives depth to the exhibition, and adds another layer to the show we might have expected to see. It’s exciting to see local artists in the international context they worked in, seeing the contribution they made to the Pop art movement.
Above: Andy Warhol / Marilyn Monroe 1967. Silkscreen on paper. 1 of suite of 10: 91.5 x 91.5cm (each). Frederick R Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles © Andy Warhol
And while it’s a lot to take in, the careful curation makes Pop to popism digestible. The show is split into decades, information about each piece is delivered clearly, and there is a Pop cafe to break it up. If you can slowly walk through the space, you’ll have a well rounded overview of the developments this movement went through and the many various ways in which these artists worked to rebel against ‘high art’ and embrace the world of advertising, film stars, pop music and consumerism.
Above: Martin Sharp, Tim Lewis / Still life 1973, synthetic polymer paint on canvas 117 x 91.5 cm (sight). National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1973
© Estate of Martin Sharp © Tim Lewis
Pop to popism shows at The Gallery of NSW 1 Nov 2014 – 1 Mar 2015
$10 child (5-17 years)
$50 family (2 adults + up to 3 children)
$30/$24 season pass
$7 student (booked school group)
Free for children under 5