Andy Warhol is the star but Roy Lichtenstein is the master. That’s the quick take out of POP TO POPISM which is the current show at the Art Gallery of NSW (until 1 March). Pop art had its origins in the UK in the mid-’50s but really took off in the USA from the early ‘60s. This show goes beyond pop to include ‘popism’ which extends the period beyond the ‘80s providing cover for the inclusion of a greater range of Australian works and artists.
Although the terminology is stretched, the show does include some famous works which will give pleasure. In the case of Andy Warhol, we have lots of Campbell’s Soup tins, Marilyn (‘67), Jackie (Kennedy), the electric chair from the NGA collection and, perhaps most engaging of all, Triple Elvis (‘63), all sex and rhythm. But greater impact is experienced with Lichtenstein’s cartoonish Look Mickey (‘61) and especially In the car (‘63) with its life, movement and anxiety. David Hockney is represented although no one now thinks of him as pop. Importantly, Jasper Johns is there with White Numbers (‘57). There are two vividly appealing 1964 works by Rosalyn Drexler. Even Jeff Koons makes some appearances. The Australians include Martin Sharp, Colin Lanceley, Richard Larter and Brett Whitely but the most striking of all is The Big Towel (‘69) by Peter Powditch.
The hanging of the show is less effective than it might have been; some of the big spaces seem padded out. But go, this is a real holiday show.
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