Robert Indiana, one of the preeminent figures in American art since the 1960s, has played a central role in the development of assemblage art, hard-edge painting, sign painting and Pop Art. Born Robert Clark, he took his surname as a result of spending his early life traveling throughout the state of Indiana, living in more than 20 different homes before the age of 18. A self proclaimed “American painter of signs,” Indiana has created a highly original body of work that explores American identity, personal history and the power of abstraction and language, establishing an important legacy that resonates in the work of many contemporary artists who make the written word a central element of their composition.
See Robert Indiana art at Gallery Art Aventura
You’ve heard of the titans of the pop art movement – Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol – and will be familiar with images of Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe and Lucky Strike packets, but far from being purely the reserve of the American art scene in the 60s and 70s, this movement spanned the globe at a time when countries and societies were reeling from the fallout from WWII, raging conflict in Vietnam and the rise and rise of Communism. Artists were uniquely placed to satirise and deride politicians, film stars – and even other artists, using humour, sex and innovation to provoke, parody and reflect…
To the outside world, many of the artists in The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop existed on the peripheries of the movement; of course Warhol made the news with headline grabbing quotes – and continues to be the poster boy for all things Pop to this day – but many artists working across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia were hugely prolific in their own countries, and proved the movement was not just American, British or male. Many brought together for the first time, their significance is now re-examined in an explosion of visual stimulation.
Numerous artists created work that examined and questioned depictions of the female body in art and popular culture. Instead of being a purely ‘decorative’ element of a composition, the female body emerged throughout the 60s and 70s as a legitimate tool of protest and empowerment. The body was being reclaimed. No longer merely fetishised and glossy, there were uncomfortable questions being asked of its role in visual culture and mass media.
Artists such as Evelyne Axell (who for a time showed under the gender-ambiguous name Axell) challenged that it now stood for power, liberation and equality. Introduced to painting by family friend René Magritte, Axell’s 1966 work Valentine was produced as a homage to Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to go in to space (and also the first civilian). By attaching a helmet and zip to the canvas, Axell invites her viewer to peek through the zipper at the flesh beneath. Acutely aware of a woman’s reception in a male-dominated industry, her work frequently challenged perceptions of images of the female body and sexuality. Despite achieving a feat of daring exploration and discovery, many only commented on Tereshkova’s physical appearance. To further highlight this absurdity, Axell staged a Happening in which a model performed a reverse strip-tease; starting naked apart from an astronaut’s helmet and adding layers of clothing as the performance went on, to the delight of the assembled crowd. Catalan artist Mari Chordà also explored anatomy in Coitus Pop 1968, by abstracting the sexual organs in a burst of enamelled colour on wood – graphic shapes and unmistakably phallic.
In Anna Maria Maiolino’s striking Glu Glu Glu 1966, we stare straight down the throat of our subject, and below her disembodied head lie brightly coloured intestines. She is female, but anonymous. The body parts are recognisable, but disconnected from the whole. It’s beautifully constructed using quilted fabric, which should be soft and tactile, but used to make glossy internal organs it becomes repulsive, visceral and unsettling.
War and Peace
Far from being purely about consumer habits and radical new fashion, pop art was a vehicle for artists to comment on political events and recent history. Nothing was off limits; Joan Rabascall’s Atomic Kiss was made as part protest, part warning sign; whilst America fought in Vietnam, the very real threat of an impending world war terrified a generation who were living through vicious conflict. Sex and death are uncomfortable bedfellows, and he describes his motivation for using found imagery: ‘what was important, I believe, was to get away from abstract art, which was very present in galleries, and do something that was corresponding to the time in which we were living’. Read the full interview
America’s influence on fashion, art, music, and technology around the world of course couldn’t be denied, but a number of artists commented on this imperialism by depicting the American flag or President Kennedy – whose assassination in 1963 rocked the United States to the core, but the ripples were felt globally. Often these motifs were adopted with a fascination in the materials, processes and subject matters employed by Rauschenberg, Wesselman and their peers. A truly international society opened up with the advent of cheaper air travel and imported television and films. Other nations felt connected and invested in these news reports, and as such America’s agenda also belonged to the rest of the world. The Vietnam War was firmly in the sights of Finnish artist Reimo Reinikainen, with his series reworking the Stars and Stripes.
Japanese artist Keiichi Tanaami became obsessed with movies, television and adverts as a young boy growing up in Tokyo, watching up to 500 hundred films in one year. He himself has drawn comparisons with his work and that of Warhol – citing him as a huge influence after a visit to New York in the 1960s. With Japan still reeling from the atomic bomb attack in 1945, Tanaami turned his sights on the culture that was rebuilt in the aftermath of tragedy, and he still draws on this when making art: ‘Today, I still create works that deal with my experience of war as a child. This moment of fear that a whole city can disappear just within a moment is a memory that has been recorded deep in my mind; it does not go away’. Read the full interview
Strength in Numbers
Included in the exhibition are several works by groups of artists working under one name. Highly politicised, after years of civil war and living under General Franco’s regime, Joan Cardells and Jorge Ballester formed Equipo Realidad in Valencia in 1966. Far from an introspective viewpoint, they explored Spain’s heritage and cultural traditions, whilst examining them through the lens of modern society, developing as all other European territories were, at rapid speed. They used found imagery and appropriated them or referenced it in their paintings, such as Robert Capa’s iconic photograph of a Spanish resistance fighter, Falling Soldier, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man in Divine Proportion 1967. Though they made work in Spain, Cardells said ‘our work was closely tied to current international events, more than national or local ones, because of censorship. We were cautious because censorship was watching us: we had a problem with a serigraphy of Che Guevara. But the critical stance was always above the local or the general’. Read the full interview.
Another group, Equipo Crónica, comprised of Rafael Solbes, Manuel Valdes and Juan Antonio Toledo was also operating in Valencia at the same time, forming in 1964 and also closely examining the changing face of the country they lived in. With a conservative fascist party in power, these groups we considered radical, and sometimes even anarchic thinkers – critical of conservative doctrines and passionate about the role played by the artist in society. They reinforce this by painting their own versions of famous Spanish paintings hailed as masterpieces the world over, such as Las Meninas, giving it a 1970s makeover, complete with patterned carpet, inflatable toys and a pot plant. Far from trivialising important motifs from Spanish culture, they focussed on the collision between past and present, and the emergence of mass-produced domestic items. In 1969 they painted Guernica ‘69 made in reference to Picasso famous protest painting of the same name. Their works were figurative, referenced other famous images, popular culture and events in the political landscape in which they were living – as a means of resisting the totalitarian state of Franco’s Spain.
2 by 2
The World Goes Pop features many works that deal with the idea of multiples, doubles, mirror images and diptychs, as Pop Art turned its sights to the very new concept of mass production; in homewares, cars, gadgets, fashion, music and even weapons. Source material from advertising, music and film found its way on to gallery walls as artists experimented with techniques and image manipulation like screen-printing and collage, elevating their status from the domestic and everyday, to fine art.
Artists are uniquely placed to turn a mirror on society at large, and to broadcast back to their audience. Pop Art was something a general consumer population could relate to – it was not elitist; it used symbols, materials, products and images that people identified with, many of them would be in the average home in their kitchen cupboard or a photograph from a newspaper article. Magazine and comic strips were widely used, and not just by Roy Lichtenstein, as the history books may have you believe. French artist Dorothée Selz mimicked poses from a magazine to create her series Relative Mimetism highlighting the convention of using the body as a sales tool and sex object, by placing the original and her version side-by-side.
Join the conversation #WorldGoesPop
Source: Think You Know Pop Art? | Tate
Could this year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach see the worst traffic ever for the famously hectic art fair week? The city’s famously clogged roads are going to be even worse this December thanks to the closure of the Venetian Causeway.
One of three passages between Miami Beach and Miami, the Venetian Causeway helps relieve congestion on the MacArthur Causeway to the south or the Julia Tuttle Causeway to the north. Visitors to Art Basel in years past need no reminder of how difficult it can be to get from Miami Beach to say, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, or Wynwood when traffic slows to a crawl on the causeways.
The nine-month, $12.4-million project, which began in late May, will rebuild the causeway’s western drawbridge. Built in 1927, the historic span was patched with metal plates during a renovation in the late 1990s. The need for a better solution became clear in March 2014, when a plate was dislodged and a bus became stuck in the gap.
The city is offering other transit options, which will include water taxis as well as a free trolley service running along the length of Miami Beach that connects the main convention center to the Design District.
The city is also testing out a new “Miami-Dade Art Express” bus route, which is also free. Running every 20 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., the bus will provide an alternate mode of transportation across the Julia Tuttle Causeway.
Nick Korniloff, head of two fairs in Miami (Art Miami and its sister fair CONTEXT) and one in Miami Beach (Aqua Art Miami), is hopeful that the effects of the closure won’t be too dramatic. “The Venetian was convenient up until a point,” he told artnet News via e-mail, “but never came close to being able to handle the bulk of traffic that the interstates [on the other causeways] do.”
Nearly 30 years after his death, Andy Warhol’s unrelenting fixation with celebrity and its imprint on his life, art and films fuels a new exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Debuting at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox, “Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen” spotlights the Pop Art master’s personal collection of Hollywood memorabilia, which the child of immigrants began collecting growing up in 1930s Pittsburgh.
The exhibition, organized by The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and presented in collaboration with TIFF, includes rare items such as Warhol’s childhood scrapbook as well as posters, magazines, films, prints, drawings, photos, videos and other related artworks. Together, “Stars of the Silver Screen” sheds new light on Warhol’s obsession with Hollywood, particularly as he transitioned from the two-room row house of his youth in Pittsburgh’s working-class neighborhood of Oakland into a globally recognized star and star-maker.
“This is the first major exhibition we’ve seen that looks at the imprint of celebrity on Warhol’s life and work,” said Laurel MacMillan, TIFF’s director of exhibitions. “It takes audiences inside Warhol’s head, both as an artist and fan. It also gives them an opportunity to see how that thread of celebrity carried through his life and prolific career, and how deeply it affected Warhol until his death in 1987.”
“Warhol was a bridge between that golden era of Hollywood, which was filled with stars like Shirley Temple, Judy Garland and Lana Turner, and the new Hollywood that emerged from its ashes in the 1960s,” said Huxley, the curator of film and audio at The Andy Warhol Museum. “Remember, from a very young age Warhol was going to the movies and collecting celebrity magazines and photographs. He was loyal to this passion throughout his life. Warhol even had a copy of Kitty Kelley’s book on Frank Sinatra sitting by his bedside in the hospital shortly before his death.”
The commercial artist turned painter in the 1950s and filmmaker in the 1960s found himself partying with Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, Truman Capote, Halston and a host of celebrities of that era.
“Warhol clearly exceeded his childhood dreams about attaining some kind of notoriety in his life. But as he delved into the world of celebrity, Warhol looked to the mundane for inspiration and made stars out of ordinary people who walked off the street and into his studio,” said Huxley. “That curiosity about what stardom really meant kept Warhol ahead of his contemporaries.”
Even in today’s age of social media and reality TV, Warhol’s relevance is undiminished, according to Davies, the managing curator for the Toronto International Film Festival.
“Warhol anticipated many shifts in pop culture and played a significant role in the democratization of fame,” said Davies.“His work also preceded reality TV, particularly with its emphasis on mundane things like soup cans and on the average person’s day-to-day life.”
Available Celebrity artwork by Andy Warhol
Happy Birthday Roy🎈🎂
Roy Lichtenstein was an American pop artist. During the 1960s, along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist among others, he became a leading figure in the new art movement. His work defined the basic premise of pop art through parody. Favoring the comic strip as his main inspiration, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions that documented while it parodied often in a tongue-in-cheek manner. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He described pop art as “not ‘American’ painting but actually industrial painting.
His prints are available at GALLART.com