Right at Home: Pop art packs decor punch


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 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.


by Dawn Levesque

Photorealism was a major American art movement of the 1970s. It consisted of painters who used photography as their subject matter and sculptors who recreated the human body with mastery. The significant trend of the period has frequently been characterized as an offshoot of the 1960s Pop Art movement and a reaction to the Minimalist movement, although with a “grittier honesty,” using photography to encapsulate “the real.”
In a New York Times article, Vivien Raynor stated that while Photorealism was an offshoot of Pop Art, it “had the affectlessness of Minimalism and, at the same time, capitalized on the public’s fondness for exact replication.”
The Nassau County Museum of Art stages a significant group presentation, Still Life: 1970s Photorealism until November 9, 2014. Organized by Yale University Art Gallery, the exhibit will highlight leading artists such as Audrey Flack, Chuck Close, Duane Hanson, Ralph Goings, Idelle Weber among others.

Photorealist paintings portrayed the postwar American landscape, which included billboards, neon signs, cafes, cars and highways as seen in Robert Blechtle’s ‘64 Valiant and Davis Cone’s Wilkes. It illustrated Vietnam War cynicism and confronted the difficulties of working-class during the 1970s-recession era. American film directors echoed the same gritty verity. Independent film director, John Cassavetes spurred a documentary style known as “truth cinema” or “cinéma vérité” and American documentary director, Barbara Kopple, who was an advocate of worker’s rights, captured anti-war sentiments and steelworkers.
Albeit its notoriety and international exposure, the movement was principally short-lived and pushed aside in the contemporary realm of art history. Through the decades, artists have attempted to reestablish the trend. The current Nassau exhibit surveys how Photorealism has fundamentally endured to remain influential through different art interpretations. Today, various painters still seek the “conversation between photography and painting” and paint directly from photographs.
Photorealists typically worked under two-painting genres – still life and portraiture. For example, the American artist-sculptress, Audrey Flack, one of the pioneers of the 1970s movement, based her meticulously rendered still-life paintings on color photographs that she had personally taken. Utilizing the photograph as a working study and part of her process, Flack worked in saturated colors, glossy and reflective surfaces.
Another example is American artist, Idelle Weber, who was first associated with Pop Art and then Photorealism. In her 1974 work, Gutter I, Weber focuses on litter found in the street gutter. She devotes her attention to “light and color” with such accuracy that it “almost evokes the sacred,” according to the Boston Globe.
While American Photorealist sculptors like John De Andrea and Duane Hanson typically cast from life in fiberglass and polyester resin. Their works were later painted in oils combined with mixed media to appear lifelike. Photorealist sculptural works, as seen in Hanson’s 1973 Man with  Beer in Chair evoked an awareness of existence, whether it was compassion or disgust, was up to the viewer.
The Nassau exhibit presents a snapshot of an almost fleeting period in art history. It poses the question as to Photorealism’s true standing in 20th-century art. The exhibit suggests that the Photorealist movement depicted life in the 1970s with a “grittier honesty” than was commonly accepted. These works have garnered renewed importance and the artistic style will continue to evolve in 21st century art history.

Mimmo Rotella Pioneer of European Pop Art: Survey Opens In Milan

Ilka Scobie

A pioneer of European Pop art, Mimmo Rotella’s 150 work survey focuses on his early pieces from 1953 – 1964. Works of his contemporaries like Andy Warhol, Piero Manzoni, Cy Twombley and a signature mirrored portrait by Michelangelo Pistoletto add an interesting historical context to the beautifully curated exhibition.
After returning to Rome in 1952 from the American Midwest, where he studied under a Fulbright grant, Rotella experienced what he described as a “Zen moment.” “After two years of crises, it was like an illumination. This would be the new language that I needed to come up with,” he explained in 1954. He was describing his intuition of tearing advertising posters directly from walls, specifically in Rome’s Piazza Popolo area where his studio (and that of many other artists) was located.
Viewing the advertisements in a new urban context, his initial abstract experiments with torn poster collages transmuted to a more recognizable style, featuring movie stars and consumer products. While ripping and layering poster fragments, Rotella deconstructed his canvases to replicate peeling billboards. At the same time, he also experimented with sound poetry, which he stayed actively involved with throughout his long career.
His distinctive vision drew international attention. In 1957, he showed at London’s ICA, followed by participation in a group show in the 1961 Museum of Modern Art’s “The Art of Assemblage” in New York. Working with French artists Pierre Restany, Yves Klein, Arman and Jean Tinguely, he moved to Paris and was part of the “Noveau Realisme” group. He represented Italy in the 33rd Venice Biennale of 1964.
Rotella’s decollages are actual collages, drawn from materials gathered on the streets themselves. By disassociating and dissembling commercial images, Rotella adapted the Dadaist term, “decollage” implying both provocation and a new perception of communication. The “retro d’affiches’” were meant as urban artifacts, actually emphasizing the backs of posters with grainy, glued backs in a limited palette.  As the decollages became more realistic, the retros reflected the actual physical surfaces, devoid of literal references.
Rotella continued working until his death in 2006.  He translated manipulated posters to plexiglass sculptures and created large scale decollages on sheet metal. Moving back to Milan in the eighties, he remarried and became a familiar and glamorous figure at subsequent Venice Bienalles. He traveled to Cuba where he worked, and designed an iconic Swatch watch in the nineties.
The works presented here share a prescient vision, embracing, examining and manipulating popular cultural iconography.  Created more then half a century ago, the masterful show feels surprisingly contemporary. Prolific and passionate, Mimmo Rotella can be viewed as a true anthropological poet.

Pop-artist Sam Walsh donates major work to Liverpool

By Catherine Jones

The Dinner Party, one of Liverpool's best-known pieces, has been permanently given to the Walker Art Gallery via the Cultural Gifts Scheme

The Dinner Party, by pop-artist Sam Walsh, has been donated under the Cultural Gifts Scheme which aims to encourage philanthropy to the UK’s public museums, galleries and archives.
Walsh, a contemporary of Peter Blake and David Hockney, was one of the driving forces of the Liverpool art scene in the 1960s.
The Irish artist lived in the city for almost 30 years.
The Dinner Party is one of his most significant works and is a homage to one of the Walker’s most celebrated masterpieces Isabella by pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais.
The people depicted were all from the Walsh’s life and include his neighbour, solicitor, ex-wife, partner, bank manager, fellow artists, poets, musicians and friends.
Walsh himself appears twice in the painting.
Culture minister Ed Vaizey said: “This is another wonderful donation under the Cultural Gifts Scheme, which thanks to the generosity of the donor will be returning home to the city where it was created.”
The painting has been donated by John Entwistle, a former Trustee of National Museums Liverpool.

Satellite Launches Pop-Art Into the Void

By Janet Burns
On July 8th, a tiny, colorful new satellite joined the approximately 3000 others orbiting the Earth just outside its atmosphere. The UKube-1 — weighing in at just under 8 pounds and taking up only 1.3 cubic feet — brings together different technologies and cultures, carrying several kinds of British mechanisms inside an American pop art shell.
UKube’s Celestial Charging Station facade is the work of Jon Gibson and Amanda White, creative directors and co-owners of iam8bit, a pop art-loving LA production company and gallery. The black, white, and orange design is etched into the satellite’s surface for longevity’s sake, and cheerfully invites alien visitors to plug in their devices before heading down to earth: “[i]f someone is going to invade our planet, presumably they’re going to come in some sort of electronic, electricity-powered ship,” Gibson jokes to Fox, adding, “Maybe this will make them stop for a moment and say, ‘These guys are nice. We’re not going to destroy their planet.”‘ Beyond appeasing invaders (their disappointment at discovering that the outlets are fake notwithstanding), the piece is meant to reflect the current state of culture far below the satellite. Gibson explains to artnet:
Everyone’s attached to their phones, tablets, and desktops and we wanted to communicate that in a fun, whimsical way up in space. It’s partly reflective of what’s happening on Earth, but also outwardly presenting an ocean of humans being in on the joke,
Their project follows in the footsteps (or, perhaps, giant leaps) of earlier space-installed artwork such as Paul van Hoeydonck‘s Fallen Astronaut, which has been on the moon since 1971, and conceptual photography project The Last Pictures, orbiting the earth on a communications satellite since 2012.
 The satellite is a CubeSat, a type first developed by California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and Stanford University, and was built by Scottish spacecraft manufacturer Clyde Space under the direction of the UK Space Agency. As the new agency’s first commissioned extraterrestrial mission, UKube-1 has been packed with award-winning technology from across the British isles; among its impressive payloads are TOPCAT, a GPS device for measuring plasmaspheric space weather, the CMOS Image Demonstrator, a camera intended to test the effect of radiation on space hardware, and AMSAT’s FUNcube-2, allowing elementary- and high-school students to interact with the satellite.
UKube-1 is part of a growing generation of so-called “nanosatellites,” which are cheaper to build and deploy, can feature experimental technologies, and are easily available for purchase. “[Nanosatellites] open the door to do lots of different things in space,” Clyde Space CEO Craig Clark tells Wired UK. “Within five years I’d like to be making 100 nanosatellites a year [here in Scotland].”