THIS WAS TOMORROW
POP ART IN GREAT BRITAIN 1947-1968
30.10.2016 – 19.2.2017
THINK. THINK. THINK. American artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg have powerfully occupied the meaning of „POP ART“. But also the movement in Great Britain should not be ignored. An exhibition at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg now closes this memory gap. Under the title „THIS IS TOMORROW“ the show presents not only the most important representatives of the BRITISH POP ART, it also describes how the idea came into the world.
„POP!“ In a puffy white cloud the word pops out of the barrel of a gun in 1947. Eduardo Paolozzi’s collage includes a cola bottle, a pin-up, cherry pie and a US bomber. A little later „POP“ becomes the signum of an entire era. Palozzi was co-founding member of ‚THE INDEPENDENT GROUP‘, a gathering of young painters, sculptors, architects, writers and critics, and the group discusses about pop culture elements such as mass advertising, movies, product design, comic strips, science fiction and technology. ‚THE INDEPENDENT GROUP‘ is regarded as the precursor to the BRITISH POP ART movement.
Beside Palozzi ‚THE INDEPENDENT GROUP‘ members included Richard Hamilton and architects Alison and Peter Smithson can be rediscovered at Stadtmuseum Wolfsburg. Exactly 60 years ago Richard Hamilton realized his trailblazing multimedia installation „FUN HOUSE“ for the exhibition ‚THIS IS TOMORROW‘ in London. The retrospective at Stadtmuseum Wolfsburg is showing a reconstruction of ‚FUN HOUSE‘ as a key work of the exhibition.
LOOK! FEEL! LISTEN! SMELL! Grid points form a face, on the forehead written „THINK. THINK. THINK“. Right along a collage of superheroes and Marilyn Monroe, Guinness bottle and Van Gogh flower image, accompanied by jukebox sound, a soft nap bottom, that diffuses strawberry smell.
‚THIS WAS TOMORROW‘, the title refers, of course, to Richard Hamilton’s early POP ART exhibition, is showing a comprehensive panorama of early POP ART in the UK: not only painting, sculpture, collage, architecture, drawing and installation, but also entertaining videos and audios, film, music and television. In the style of modern London artists‘ houses and squares Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg has created its 16-meter-high exhibition hall for the highly individual, and yet not seldom close stakeholders of the art and cultural scene of the „SWINGING SIXTIES“.
Key protagonists such as Peter Blake, David Hockney, R. B. Kitaj and Allen Jones, generally lesser-known but essential figures such as Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips, Richard Smith, Gerald Laing, Patrick Caulfield, Antony Donaldson, Colin Self and Joe Tilson, as well as the often neglected, decidedly feminine stances of Pauline Boty and Jann Haworth, can be experienced, along with larger groups of works.
Peter Blake portrays himself as a jeansjacket carrier with Elvis buttons, qotes from Manet, the „LIFE“ magazine or the Beatles as part of his collages. We find Gerald Laings Godard icon „Anna Karina“, a brightly colored version of a Delacroix painting by Patrick Caulfield’s, a sexually charged painting by Peter Philipps, Laings grid picture „Brigitte Bardot“. Boty offers her perspective on a female icon – „Color her Gone“ (1962), her tribute to Marilyn Monroe. On the other hand Allen Jones with the fetish female body as a „table“ or „chair“, the young Hockney dares his coming out with hearts and homosexual couples. Kitaj’s large formats, puzzles full of literary and private allusions. Jann Haworth is modeling body and muscles of her life-size „Surfer“ by using silk stockings.
Together with her husband Peter Blake, Haworth designed the legendary Beatles cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. So the overview also shows works that belongs to the media world like film and pop music. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who for example, are appearing in form of art objects, a „sound bar and as protagonists of a BBC-Dokumentation, so the cross-over between art and music of the ‚SWINGING LONDON OF THE SIXTIES‘ will also be present in the exhibition.
‚THIS WAS TOMORROW‘ enables visitors to experience the artistic and cultural historical significance of BRITISH POP ART with all their senses and it seems to be more relevant than ever. The questioning of gender roles and sexual taboos, the reflexion on consumerism, the risks of power politics and nuclear policy, social hierarchies – the central themes of POP ART from Great Britain continue to concern us.
30. Oktober 2016 bis 19. Februar 2017
Öffnungszeiten: Dienstag bis Sonntag 11 – 18 Uh
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