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WHAT DO MARILYN MONROE AND SOUP
have in common? For lovers of pop art, the answer is simple: Andy Warhol. In just one year, 1962, Warhol created two of the movement’s most iconic works, Marilyn Diptych and Campbell’s Soup Cans, catapulting himself into pop art royalty alongside fellow American Roy Lichtenstein and British artist Richard Hamilton. However Anglo-American pop art is only part of the picture. As Tate Modern’s latest exhibition reveals, artists all over the world were going ‘pop’ too.
In TheEYExhibition:TheWorldGoesPop (from 17 Sep), visitors are invited to explore how artists from Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East responded and contributed to the pop art movement. It details how the genre was used as a language for criticism and public protest.
Featuring more than 100 works from the 1960s-70s, the exhibition shatters traditional notions of pop art, uncovering key figures who have often been left out of the mainstream, until now.
Among them is Austrian Kiki Kogelnik’s anti-war sculpture Bombs in Love (1962), and the subverted commercial logos painted by Boris Bućan in Croatia. What these two artists highlight is the use of pop art as an overtly political, destabilising force and a critique of its capitalist origins – not just a celebration of Western consumerism.
Equally powerful is Glu, Glu, Glu (1966) by Brazilian Anna María Maiolino. Far from the comic-book blondes and idealised female bodies normally associated with pop art, her sculpture focuses on digestive organs, not unlike the isolated body parts in Corazón Destrozado (1964) by Argentina’s Delia Cancela, also exhibited. In fact this exhibition showcases a huge range of female artists who played a key role, such as Belgium’s Evelyne Axell, known for her psychedelic portraits, and the Argentinian artist Marta Minujin. They challenged the traditional cast of male figures who came to dominate the world of pop.
Most surprising of all is the lack of famous icons. Unlike Warhol it seems global pop artists were more interested in mass crowds. Rather than Marilyn Monroe, Icelandic Erró shows throngs of Chinese workers invading domestic Western scenes ( American Interiors, 1968). Rather than a soup brand, Brazilian Claudio Tozzi’s Multitude (1960) focuses on a violent revolt.
Explosive, critical and at times rebellious – this is pop art, just not as we know it. For full listing, turn to p. 41
Handel House Museum
Former home of composer George Frideric Handel. Tue-Wed & Sat 10am6pm; Thur 10am-8pm; Sun noon- 6pm. Adult £6.50; child £2 (free Sat & Sun). www.handelhouse.org. 25 Brook St, W1K 4HB. T: 020-7495 1685. E6. Station: Bond St.