SAM's Fresh Look At Pop Art



BY MARCIE SILLMAN

When you walk into Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Art exhibition, Pop Departures, artist Roy Lichtenstein’s red, yellow and blue paintings seem to explode off the walls.
There’s the fighter pilot, square jawed and helmeted; the weeping woman cradled in the arms of her he-man; a bright red depiction of the jet trail of an ascending rocket called “Vroom.”
Lichtenstein, who became a leading artist in the 1960s, was inspired by comic book art. But these large paintings are more powerful than a locomotive and hit your brain faster than a speeding bullet.
The term Pop Art is derived from what you would expect: popular art. Practitioners including Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol use everything from comics to celebrity photographs and discarded metal heating ducts to make their work.
“It’s very accessible,” says SAM’s Catharina Manchanda, curator of this new show.
“What people see are images, materials that everybody would know,” she says. “This was really meant to be an art that was about the here and now.”
Manchanda says Lichtenstein is one of the originators of the Pop Art movement, and she reminds audiences that while his images seem familiar today, in the 1960s they shocked an art world that was most interested in elevating itself above daily discourse.
“What happened with Pop was, people took a sharp left turn away from abstraction,” she explains. “They’re taking us into the mire not only of every day culture, but pretty crass, commercial culture.”
Although he didn’t originate Pop Art, Andy Warhol is arguably the movement’s poster boy, Manchanda says. She says his flamboyant parties at his downtown building, The Factory, coupled with his open homosexuality and ability to move freely between social strata, set him apart from New York’s mainstream art world.
Manchanda says Warhol ably marshalled his advertising and marketing background to the service of his art. Warhol repurposed photographs of celebrities, or mundane household objects, and transformed them through his choice of colors and settings into cultural observations.
Warhol’s large painting “Double Elvis” greets visitors when they walk into SAM's second gallery. The painting is based on a still publicity photograph from a movie Elvis starred in. Larger than life on a silver background, Elvis draws his six shooter from his holster as he stares the visitor in the eye.
“Warhol reinvented portraiture through the lens of celebrity,” Manchanda says. “That was one of his great contributions in the 1960s.”
SAM’s Pop Departures show includes other Warhol portraits: Mao Tse Tung, Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Richard Nixon.
“Pop Departures” also includes the works of mid-20th century art stars Claes Oldenburg, Jeff Koons and video pioneer Nam June Paik.
Seattleites may know the Oldenburg sculpture installed at SAM's Olympic Sculpture Park. It's a super-sized typewriter eraseR, clinging precariously to the side of a hill over the railroad tracks. Oldenburg’s kinetic yellow ice bag in the Pop Departures show is smaller, but interactive. It twists and rises when visitors walk by.
In Pop Departures, Manchanda traced the legacy of the mid-20th century Pop artists into the new millennium. “Looking back at the ’80s and ’90s is like looking at the last hurrah of an analog culture,” she says.
Artists working today don't think twice about appropriating consumer products or other commercial imagery. They blend commodities like lingerie, tee shirts and American flags with downloaded videos or music, to comment on commercial culture and other politically charged issues.
Mexican-born artist Margarita Cabrera addresses globalism in her life-size vinyl fabric recreation of a Volkswagen Beetle. Her sculpture was made after Volkswagen closed its last Mexican Beetle assembly plant.
Andy Warhol once famously declared that “in the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.” It wasn’t a prediction as much as a brash statement. But walking through the SAM exhibition, it seems Warhol's bluster was right on the mark.
Near the end of the Pop Departures show are two video monitors mounted to the wall, each with a set of headphones. They're montages of videos that artist Amy Siegel found on YouTube: Mashups of everyday people singing their own versions of the Frank Sinatra standard “My Way.”
Today people can engineer their own 15 minutes of fame, by videotaping themselves in performance, and posting those videos to social media.
“I asked myself while I was working on this show, if he were alive today, what would Andy Warhol have done,” Manchanda muses. “Because he would have loved the possibilities that the Internet provides for people today. I think he would have been front and center still.”

Seattle Art Museum’s “Pop Departures” exhibition is on view at the museum’s downtown Seattle location through Jan. 11, 2015.






Marjorie Strider, Sly Pop Artist, Is Dead at 83




By RANDY KENNEDY

SEPT. 5, 2014


Marjorie Strider, a Pop artist who slyly subverted her male counterparts’ takes on consumerism and the female form, creating images of packages that oozed their contents and women whose curves jutted from the picture plane, died on Aug. 27 at her home in Saugerties, N.Y. She was 83.

Marjorie Virginia Strider

Linda Rattner Celle, a niece, confirmed her death but did not specify the cause.
Ms. Strider was among the first wave of New York Pop artists and was included in “The First International Girlie Show” at the Pace Gallery in 1964, along with several soon-to-be stars of the movement, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann. She said she did not initially think of her works as Pop, but had grown bored in the 1950s making paintings that were perspectivally flat and began adding things like cardboard and wood to the surface to make them more sculptural.

strider dg11206 jn21 1024x463 MARJORIE STRIDER, más allá del Pop y el feminismo.

She did this with paintings of plants and vegetables but also with bright triptychs of bikini-clad women, adding what she called “build-outs” to make the breasts and bottoms of the women emerge realistically out of the image, a challenge to the passive gaze.
She described her pinup paintings as “a satire of men’s magazines,” and they — along with “Girl With Radish,” a 1963 work showing a woman’s cartoonish face with her mouth suggestively open and a bright red radish clamped between her teeth — remain some of her best-known pieces. But Ms. Strider was stylistically and intellectually restless and quickly moved on to other kinds of work, which rarely received the attention of her early paintings.
Berta Walker, the owner of a gallery in Provincetown, Mass., who knew Ms. Strider for many years, said that she “refused to be a factory of art when her gallery asked her — her downfall and her saving.”
Marjorie Virginia Strider was born on Jan. 26, 1931, in Guthrie, Okla., the second of five children. Her father was a cement contractor and her mother was a secretary at an Air Force base near Oklahoma City and also led local campaigns to improve literacy.
Ms. Strider attended the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri and Oklahoma State University and worked designing shoe-store window displays before moving to New York in 1957. “I never wanted to be anything but an artist,” she said in a 2010 interview. “That’s why I never had children. I knew I couldn’t do both and do both well.”
In 1960 she married the artist and writer Michael Kirby, who later became a professor of theater and performance at New York University. They were divorced in 1969. She is survived by a sister, Nancy Rattner; a brother, James D. Strider; and 11 nieces and nephews.
She supported herself for many years teaching at the School of Visual Arts, living in SoHo when that neighborhood was just emerging as an artists’ neighborhood and later in TriBeCa. In 1969 she was one of the organizers of a group of artists and poets who staged an influential public performance over several months called “Street Works.”
In them, Vito Acconci followed random strangers, being photographed as he did so. Adrian Piper recorded street noise and replayed it later, at double speed, walking in the same area where she had recorded it. For her own work, Ms. Strider hung more than 30 empty gilded picture frames in various places on the streets: on a fire hydrant, on a tree, against a painted wall. She then returned to the idea over several months, making it more conceptual as she went; in the area where she had hung the frames, she returned and draped a large felt banner with the words “Picture Frame” written on it.
For many years in the 1970s she worked with urethane foam, creating huge, sinuous installations that seemed to flow out of building windows or down staircases. Later paintings returned to the female form but often used it to play with abstraction: a close-up of a jawline, hair and mouth dissolving into hard line and bright color; a bikini bottom and legs as a five-triangle composition exercise. From 1982 to 1985, a retrospective of her work that began at the SculptureCenter in New York toured several cities in the United States.
At a time when women struggled mightily for visibility in the art world, Ms. Strider was often fearless and pointedly droll with her public image. In the winter 1971 issue of the art magazine Avalanche, she took out a full-page ad showing herself topless, riding a horse, in a slightly blurry, off-kilter picture that looks as if it could be the basis for a Gerhard Richter painting. Her perseverance, she said in an interview with Jonathan Gams, in the 2004 book “Marjorie Strider: Dramatic Gestures,” was sometimes all that got her through.

“I believed those men who either outright said or alluded to the fact that women weren’t good enough to compete in the real art world,” she said. “But thank God it didn’t stop me from working. I’ve always worked intensely.”

Right at Home: Pop art packs decor punch


BY KIM COOK

Mid-century modern style is now firmly planted in the home décor landscape. And one of its elements, pop art, is cultivating a 21st century following. 
Eye-catching, graphic, often tongue-in-cheek or sassily whimsical, pop art décor plays well off the vintage vibe and yet also makes contemporary furnishings, well, pop.
In the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism dominated the art world, with Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock among its superstars. The canvas served as an arena for aggressive applications of paint. Conceptual, nonfigurative art found a strong following in the art world, if not always with average Americans, at least at first.
In the effervescent, culture-obsessed 1960s, artists like Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney created collages, mixed media art and lithographs that depicted the talismans of popular culture. They took inspiration from consumer culture, from soap boxes to soup cans, flags to the funny papers, Marilyn Monroe to Mao. While some critics derided it as jokey, low-brow or too focused on materialism, the approachable imagery connected easily with mainstream America. It was hip, fun and relatable.
“I consider pop art a classic,” says Jennifer DeLonge, an interior and product designer in Carlsbad, California. “It was such an important time in design and it continues to withstand so many fleeting trends. As a designer, I'm always drawn to pop first because I appreciate graphic lines and very obvious color.”
DeLonge has launched a social marketplace app called Reissued that brings lovers of vintage, one-of-a-kind and hard-to-find items together to buy and sell. A bright yellow 1960s Coke bottle crate was recently up for grabs.
Fab.com's pop art décor includes Quinze + Milan's giant Brillo box pouf. Also of note: Karlsson's minimalist wall clock made of two oversize red hands; Finnish designer Jonna Saarinen's abstract, printed birch tray in vivid tangerine and red; and lithographs in the Masters of Pop Art collection that includes Warhol's portrait of Muhammad Ali, Keith Haring's “Untitled” series, and Roy Lichtenstein's “Blonde Waiting.”
Biaugust's whimsical little black upholstered chairs shaped like ponies, lambs and buffalo are available at Mollaspace. Here too is a vivid bubble-gum-pink and Slushie-blue map of the world, as well as acrylic coasters printed with blank cartoon-speech bubbles that can be written on with a reusable pen, and a series of canvas storage bins printed with old-school boom boxes, radios and TV sets. 
A few pop art accessories in a room make a statement for a modest price. Creative Motion's cylindrical table lamp printed with comic-strip imagery is under $50. A collection of kicky, '70s-style graphic print pillows from notNeutral pack pop punch. 
Canvases and throw pillows from the Los Angeles art decor studio Maxwell Dickson feature some arresting, edgy designs, including a photorealistic image of a tableful of empty liquor bottles, a typographic traffic jam of color-blocked letters, and the word “POP” exploding like a cartoon graphic. 
The Museum of Modern Art's store has lots of pop art items from which to choose: Damien Hirst's white wall clock with colorful polka dots would be terrific in a child's room. Verner Panton's black and white Optik pillow features a dizzying kaleidoscope of circles and stripes that's as much “op” as “pop.” There's also a wide range of prints and postcards that you can frame yourself. 
Check Spoonflower.com for fabric yardage and wallpaper with pop art prints from new designers. There are psychedelic-inspired patterns, and even a chicken print that riffs off of the now- famous screen-printing technique that Warhol used for portraits.


Photorealism


Photorealism is a genre of art that encompasses painting, drawing and other graphic mediums, in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempts to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another medium. Although the term can be used to broadly describe artworks in many different mediums, it is also used to refer specifically to a group of paintings and painters of the United States art movement that began in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
As a full-fledged art movement, Photorealism evolved from Pop Art and as a counter to Abstract Expressionism as well as Minimalist art movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States.
 Photorealists use a photograph or several photographs to gather the information to create their paintings and it can be argued that the use of a camera and photographs is an acceptance of Modernism. However, the admittance to the use of photographs in Photorealism was met with intense criticism when the movement began to gain momentum in the late 1960s, despite the fact that visual devices had been used since the fifteenth century to aid artists with their work.
Pop Art and Photorealism were both reactionary movements stemming from the ever increasing and overwhelming abundance of photographic media, which by the mid 20th century had grown into such a massive phenomenon that it was threatening to lessen the value of imagery in art. However, whereas the Pop artists were primarily pointing out the absurdity of much of the imagery (especially in commercial usage), the Photorealists were trying to reclaim and exalt the value of an image.
The word Photorealism was coined by Louis K. Meisel in 1969 and appeared in print for the first time in 1970 in a Whitney Museum catalogue for the show "Twenty-two Realists." It is also sometimes labeled as Super-Realism, New Realism, Sharp Focus Realism, or Hyper-Realism.
Louis K. Meisel,[17] two years later, developed a five-point definition at the request of Stuart M. Speiser, who had commissioned a large collection of works by the Photorealists, which later developed into a traveling show known as 'Photo-Realism 1973: The Stuart M. Speiser Collection', which was donated to the Smithsonian in 1978 and is shown in several of its museums as well as traveling under the auspices of SITE. The definition for the ORIGINATORS was as follows:
1. The Photo-Realist uses the camera and photograph to gather information.
 2. The Photo-Realist uses a mechanical or semimechanical means to transfer the information to the canvas.
 3. The Photo-Realist must have the technical ability to make the finished work appear photographic.
 4. The artist must have exhibited work as a Photo-Realist by 1972 to be considered one of the central Photo-Realists.

 5. The artist must have devoted at least five years to the development and exhibition of Photo-Realist work.