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. But 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 The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop (17 Sep-24 Jan), visitors are invited to explore how artists from Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East responded and contributed to the pop art movement. Featuring over 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 – 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, Maiolino’s sculpture focuses on digestive organs, not unlike the isolated body parts in Corazón destrozado (1964) by Argentina’s Delia Cancela, also exhibited.
Most surprising of all is the lack of remote icons. Unlike Warhol it seems global pop artists were more interested in amassed crowds. Rather than Marilyn Monroe, Icelandic Erró shows throngs of Chinese workers (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. Be sure to discover it for yourself.
Read more about the exhibition here.
See more London exhibitions here.