© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We will broadcast special coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, starting with the RNC tonight at 8.

Commentary: Pop Art Has Made A Global Impact On The Art World

Nancy Kranzberg

An exhibition entitled "Pop America-1965-1975” at the Nasher Museum of Art on the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina opened my eyes to the global impact pop art made on the art world.

Wikipedia describes Pop Art as an art movement that emerged in the United Kingdom and the United States during the mid to late 1950's.The movement presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular and mass culture such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects. One of the aims is to use images of popular (as opposed to elitist) culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any culture, most often through the use of irony. It is also associated with the artist's use of mechanical means of reproduction or rendering techniques. In pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated or combined with unrelated material.

Despite the wide appeal of Pop art's engaging imagery, the broader public remains unaware of the participation and significant contribution of Latin America and Latino/Latina artists working at the same time and alongside their U.S. and European counterparts. The exhibition at the Nasher is the first exhibition with a hemispheric vision of Pop. The exhibition has made a timely and critical contribution to a more complete understanding of this artistic period.

All of this made me realize that Pop Art and its effect on the art world was a lot more than Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein's comic book style. France had Nouveau Realisme which referred to an artistic movement founded in 1960 by art critic Pierre Restany and the artist Yves Klein. In Spain, the study of pop art is associated with the "new figurative" and Eduardo Arroyo could be said to fit in with the pop art movement. In Japan, pop art evolved from the nation's prominent avant-garde scene. Italian pop art originated in the 1950's culture, and Belgium, the Netherlands and Russia had their own scene.

Special exhibitions are constantly "popping" up in regards to Pop Art. The Whitney Museum in New York recently closed a comprehensive show of Warhol's work. The lines never stopped to get in to see his stunning images.

A few years back the Philadelphia Museum presented an exhibition titled "International Pop." The description of the exhibition says, "International Pop navigates a fast paced world packed with bold and thought provoking imagery, revealing a vibrant period shaped by social, political and cultural changes. The exhibition chronicled Pop Art’s emergence as an international movement, migrating from the United Kingdom and the United States to western and eastern Europe, Latin America and Japan.

Amy Carlson Gustafson of the Pioneer Press in Minnesota talks about the Walker Art Museum's show a few years ago, "International Pop," which went way beyond the usual suspects. Even though pop art icons including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were represented, the show took a global approach to a world well known for its American artists.

And right here in Springfield, Missouri, "The Electric Garden of our Minds: British/American Pop " was a popular show at the museum. The exhibition was inspired by the comparison of Pop Art's British roots and antecedents to its varied American counterparts.

The St. Louis Art Museum recently closed another extremely popular exhibition titled "Graphic Revolution: American prints from 1960 to Now.” The show examined the transformational decade of the 60s through the early 21st century, and the emergence of the creative synergies between artists, publishers, printers, dealers and collectors who have been critical to the development of American Art during that time. Notable highlights included works by Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.

I'll look at Pop Art with a lot more importance than I did in the past. What a great impact it made in the world of art and its many movements.


Nancy Kranzberg has been involved in the arts community for more than thirty years on numerous arts related boards.