Pop Art is: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short term solution), Expendable (easily-forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young, Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big Business. . .
This is just the beginning. . .
—Richard Hamilton, 1957
Gagosian is pleased to present a major exhibition to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Hamilton’s visionary definition of Pop art. Hamilton’s seminal role in this movement has been widely acknowledged, and this exhibition includes artists of his generation as well as many others who have contributed to the development and dissemination of Pop over the last fifty years.
Pop art crossed all boundaries between high and low culture to produce many of the twentieth century’s iconic images. Artists around the world radically transformed painting and sculpture, according the same importance to the everyday and the mass-produced that had previously been the reserve of the epic and the unique. Andy Warhol’s vision of the role of art in modern society and the democratization of art production were set in motion as artists took images from advertising, Hollywood, comic books, and industrially designed products to address issues such as class, political change, and consumer culture. Whether they borrowed in a celebratory or critical spirit, Pop artists encouraged a new contemporary sensibility through their fresh perception of visual, cultural, and commercial icons. Pop represented a sudden and dramatic expansion of often-contradictory possibilities, which has been one of the main reasons for its continued influence on subsequent generations of artists.
This exhibition allows us to consider the ways in which artists, past and present, respond to constantly changing ideas about what Pop art is. It presents the rise of Pop art, and its establishment as a major force in contemporary art, through works by more than forty artists, from the first generation of Pop artists—including Hamilton, Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, and Warhol—to subsequent generations of artists who have traced and extended Pop art’s varied legacies, including Rachel Harrison, Damien Hirst, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Nate Lowman, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, and others. In this highly engaging artistic dialogue, methods of seriality and repetition, the use of synthetic materials as well as media images, and references to mass production are visible proof that the concept of Pop is still vital in contemporary art.
Pop Art Is… coincides with two major exhibitions in London: The Painting of Modern Life at the Hayward Gallery (October 4–December 30, 2007) and Pop Art Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery (October 11, 2007–January 20, 2008).
A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany this exhibition, with a text by Greil Marcus and a visual essay by Louise Lawler illustrating the development of this movement over the last fifty years.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster
Lauren Mahony and Michael Tcheyan pay homage to the founder of the New York Studio School.
“Things Fall Apart”: Ed Ruscha’s Swiped Words
Lisa Turvey examines the range of effects conveyed by the blurred phrases in recent drawings by the artist, detailing the ways these words in motion evoke the experience of the current moment.
I’ll Be Your Mirror: Allen Midgette
Raymond Foye speaks with the actor who impersonated Andy Warhol during the great Warhol lecture hoax in the late 1960s. The two also discuss Midgette’s earlier film career in Italy and the difficulty of performing in a Warhol film.
Richard Prince: Cowboy
On the occasion of the publication of Richard Prince: Cowboy, a major monograph on the artist’s preoccupation with the mythic American West, Luc Sante tracks the archetype through mass media, advertising, and the art of Richard Prince to illuminate the cowboy’s enduring appeal.
Jacquelynn Baas profiles Isabelle Waldberg, writing on the sculptor’s many friendships and the influence of her singular creations.
Dorothy Lichtenstein sits down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the changes underway at the Lichtenstein Foundation, life in the 1960s, and what brought her to—and kept her in—the Hamptons.
September 29–December 12, 2020
Britannia Street, London