When we think pop art, we picture Warhol’s stacks of Brillo pads, or the iconic speech bubbles hanging over Lichtenstein’s red-lipped blondes. But there’s more to Pop Art than the multitude of Marilyns. The Tate Modern is “ready to tell a global story of pop art” in The World Goes Pop, a new exhibition which includes works by Latin American, Asian, European and Middle Eastern artists.
Many of the 160 pieces in the exhibit, all created between the 1960s and 70s, display the classic bright commercial imagery of the pop art we know well. Croatian artist Boris Bucan subverts popular capitalist imagery by replacing brand names with the word “art” while Henri Cueco animates wood cut-outs of angry comic-book figures. Despite the disparate origins of the artists featured in The World Goes Pop, the ubiquity of appropriated brands, such as Coca Cola, is a comment on the potency of globalized commercialism.
The exhibit also offers viewers a refreshing break from the male dominated vernacular. Kandarya-Mahadeva, an installation by Cornel Brudascu, plays with the theme of female sexuality without the cringe worthy misogyny that often taints the movement.
At first glance, the exhibit seems to effectively and inclusively celebrate the diversity of the pop art movement. The Guardian, however, is wary of categorizing these diverse artists into just one movement. Many pieces are graphic and compelling, but “is it pop?” asks The Guardian. In an interview with The Tate, Kogelnik herself bluntly states that she does not consider herself to be a pop artist, but that she has used “some expressive means of pop art in my work.”
Indeed, there is no cookie cutter formula that determines what piece fits neatly into which movement. Maybe the world doesn’t “go pop,” but it certainly sees and responds to it.
The exhibit will be on view in London until January 27th. Click here to learn more and read interviews of the exhibit’s featured artists.