I absolutely love Pop Art. I love the colours and how bright the works are, the use of everyday objects, famous faces and images from popular culture were used to draw attention to important political and cultural issues.
But, I didn’t really know much about Pop Art outside of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern tells the story outside of Warhol and Lichtenstein. It tells the global story of how pop art was used across the world in the 60s and 70s to battle with topics such as gender, sexuality, war, social discrimination and politics. It wasn’t just an embrace of consumerism but a movement to provide an accessible mode to communicate and protest to the mass consumer.
There was pop art from all corners of the world including Spain, Japan and Brazil. As a result of this global look, the exhibition highlights how pop art protested against global issues. Ulrike Ottinger’s piece against the Vietnam War was a personal favourite of mine. Ottinger used a pinball machine to highlight how commodities are valued in society and how war has become a game.
Women artists have been omitted from the Pop Art movement but this exhibition sought to draw attention to their contributions. A lot of the questions asked were to do with a woman’s role in domestic society and their body and sexuality. The movement uses art to challenge the portrayal of a female body that only pleased the heterosexual male gaze and the patriarchal society. For example, Martha Rosier merges women with kitchen appliances to showcase the beginning of women’s traditional roles being challenged in the 1950s. There was also the question of geographical repression where art showcased how Spanish women had to deal with two forms of repression.
Other notable favourites of mine was Boris Bucan’s Bucan Art in the final room, ‘Pop Consumption’, where the word ‘Art’ was superimposed into notable logos such as the Pepsi one and Joe Tilson’s Pages which are large wooden grids with fabric prints of magazine images.
The World Goes Pop is on at the Tate until the 24th of January 2016.