Article Worth Reading: “Reconfiguring Pop” by Saul Ostrow

Marjorie Strider, Green Triptych

When we think of Pop Art names that usually come to mind include, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and many other male artists of the decade that changed and shaped what we consider Pop Art today. What about those female artists that were also involved and active during the typical “Pop Age” (1950s-1960s)?

Saul Ostrow examines the exhibit “Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968” and comes up with some very interesting conclusions about the overall exhibit. Here is a snippet of his article:

“In the early ’60s, the term “Pop” was generally applied to art that depicted mundane objects or banal commercial products, and whose imagery and style referenced advertising or graphic design. Pop’s defining exhibitions-“New Painting of Common Objects,” curated by Walter Hopps at the Pasadena Art Museum; “The New Realists,” at Sidney Janis Gallery in New York (both 1962); and “Six Painters and the Object,” organized by Lawrence Alloway at the Guggenheim Museum (1963)-were all-male affairs (though Marisol was included in the Janis show). Sachs reminds us that there is much more to Pop-to its artistic sources and objectives-than the critical and art historical canon would lead us to believe. Ideas about Pop art, right down to the roster of its principal proponents, have rarely strayed far from those set forth in Lucy R. Lippard’s 1966 book Pop Art.

“Seductive Subversion” includes not only underknown Pop artists but also artists who are not typically identified with the movement. Marisol and Niki de Saint Phalle, both well known and associated with mainstream Pop, are present, but so is the Greek-born artist Chryssa, who is now fairly obscure but had a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim in 1961, when she was in her late 20s. (Having begun as a painter, she did pioneering work in neon in the ’60s and ’70s.) Other familiar figures in the exhibition are Yayoi Kusama, Martha Rosler, Vija Celmins and Faith Ringgold, who, while they are not identified with Pop today, were considered Pop-ish during the decade covered. Still others were (and are) better known abroad than in the U.S.: the Briton Pauline Boty (1938-1966), who was also an occasional model and actress of stage, film and TV; Jann Haworth, an American who participated in the British Pop art movement; the Swede Barbro Östlihn (1930-1995), who had a retrospective at the Art Museum of Norrköping in 2003; and, from Belgium, Evelyne Axell (1935-1972), a TV presenter, actress and scriptwriter turned artist.”

Click here to read full article.

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