ON TO POP
What influence does Pop Art still have nowadays? Let's try to answer The Art Newspaper's question with an exhibition. Bologna celebrates with an international exhibition the masters of Pop Art, who from the 1950s to the present day have catapulted the cities of New York and London to the centre of the world. Contemporary Concept, in collaboration with their protagonists, wants to retrace the art that speaks a language that everyone knows: that of the mass media, advertising, television and cinema, the language for images typical of the consumer society. An art that reveals and denounces man's bewilderment in the face of a civilization that imposes ever new desires and increasingly amplified dreams.
The exhibition will start on 18 April 2019, and will present a broad representation of the movement from its origins until today. It brings together about 50 works created using different techniques, including painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs and films. Masterpieces by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Banksy, Keith Haring, and current artists such as Obey, Mr. Brainwash and Mr. Savethewall. Our development in today's capitalist society has led us to become "HOMO IMAGO": our identity is linked to the way we are represented in images. People today are an image.
The development of social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, which are flooded with images, demonstrates this point of view. Pop art, perhaps more than any other artistic movement, has anticipated this drift, offers comparisons and illustrates the persistent importance of images in our contemporary society. The ambitious project of this exhibition introduces different perspectives on the movement and invites a new understanding of a period that dramatically influenced the artistic developments of the next half century. Visitors will be greeted in the gallery by several early works including Andy Warhol's most famous Pop Art icon "Marilyn Monroe" (1962) made with a technique (innovative for those years) photographic screen printing. This technique would later become Warhol's definitive style: it was simple, quick and it was possible to make light changes to the photo several times. It is difficult to imagine, but it was by pure coincidence that Warhol decided to portray Marilyn Monroe. She died that same month and her beautiful face, as well as her fame, seemed perfect for that repetitive print and cartoon-like artwork. And she was right! Then there was another iconic work by Roy Lichtenstein with Shipboard Girl (1965) one of Lichtenstein's first pop art prints, when he adopted this style. He worked in the '40s and '50s in a more abstract style, a style that was more common in America at that time, and it wasn't until the early '60s, when he returned to New York, that he developed this dot pattern, known as Benday dot, to create his scenes. This print was described as one that "doesn't lower the art to the level of comics but raises the level of comics to the level of high art".
Iconic works that helped define American Pop Art, a very different kind of "American type" art, which in the late 1960s had eclipsed the dominance of Abstract Expressionism on the New York scene. These two works (together with the works Banksy and Keith Haring) will be compared with the works of Obey, Mr. Brainwash and Mr. Savethewall, who are still current protagonists on the international scene, witnesses of the new society and the new art that reflects it and that takes the name of Pop Art.