My Definition of Pop

It is almost time for us to say goodbye, auf wiedersehen, adiós, and sayōnara to International Pop, an exhibition that explores the world of Pop art through more than 125 works drawn from over 13 countries on 4 continents. The DMA Member magazine, Artifacts, asked several participating artists for their own personal definition of Pop to celebrate the October opening of the exhibition at the DMA. Check out their responses below, and stop by the DMA before January 17 to find out what Pop art means to you.

Jana Želibská's Toaletta I (Toiletta I) and Toaletta II (Toiletta II) from 1966 on the left.

Jana Želibská’s Toaletta I (Toiletta I) and Toaletta II (Toiletta II) from 1966 at left

Jana Želibská |  Slovakia, born Czechoslovakia
Pop meant for me a way to express myself as a woman, to articulate my ideas in the new contemporary visual language—language totally different from the academic media and topics that we were taught by the professors at the academy—literally a new realism. Aside from that, Pop also meant for me the Youth as such and a way to communicate with the new harmonious world of future, in which men and women will be equal in both their rights and desires, minds and bodies.

Eduardo Costa's Fashion fiction 1: Vogue, 1968 (photographer: Richard Avedon; model: Marisa Berenson) from 1968.

Eduardo Costa’s Fashion Fiction 1: Vogue USA, Feb. 1, 1968 (photographer: Richard Avedon; model: Marisa Berenson), from 1966-68

Eduardo Costa |  Argentina
Pop is a small usual object magnified many, many times and presented as a sculpture. Pop is a silkscreen print representing the face of a famous movie star left to the imagination of a sophisticated artist. Pop is a pretty girl showing off her lovely face and body from all angles. Pop is a professional body builder posing. Pop is an electric chair. Pop is the lonely image of a highway seen sometimes from a moving car. Pop is a flag representing a whole country in the space of a painting. Pop is a gold prop in the shape of an ear of gold reproduced in millions of copies of fashion magazines. Pop is a philosophy disguised as trivia and presented as art. Pop is basically a wind of life and energy from the popular mind that reaches all over the globe. Pop art seems to require no effort to be understood. Pop is best served with many definitions.

Ushio Shinohara's 1968 piece Oiran on the left.

Ushio Shinohara’s 1968 work Oiran on the left

Ushio Shinohara |  Japan
For the work Oiran (1968) I chose Japanese ukiyoe (pictures of the floating world) as my creative theme due to the influence of Pop art. First, I removed the eyes, nose, and mouth from the woodblock print of a famous picture of a courtesan. Second, I simplified her hair accessory and kimono design. Third, I used fluorescent paint. As a result, it became a great work of art that is much flashier than the original woodblock print. In this way, the image was reborn as a contemporary painting.

(Rosalyn Drexler's Sorry About That from 1966 on the right.)

Rosalyn Drexler’s Sorry About That from 1966 on the right

Rosalyn Drexler | United States
Pop is the sound made when a cork is removed from a bottle. It announces that the “liquid” in the bottle is ready to be released. It is a reminder that Pop is an announcement of what is to come. If you are sleeping, Pop will wake you up. It is in the same class as an alarm clock. Simply put, the public at large may not have to struggle with MEANING any longer, but may at last understand the painting. It means nothing. It repeats itself. It advertises what it is, and nothing else. It does reveal the careful hand of the artist and his/her acceptance of nothing done beautifully. The more things change, the more one’s expectations are short-changed. However . . . ignore the label; press one on yourselves. Wash in cold water. Do not iron. The wrinkles are permanent. Pop is not Mom.

Delia Cancela 1966 Portrait of Girls and Boys: Antoine and Karine (Retrato Muchachas y Muchachos: Antoine y Karine) on the left.

Delia Cancela’s 1966 Portrait of Girls and Boys: Antoine and Karine (Retrato Muchachas y Muchachos: Antoine y Karine) at left

Delia Cancela |  Argentina
Pop was, for me, a label that I accepted. Critics said I was Pop; they wrote it. Personally, I don’t like categories. Then, in my life, what counted was pop music, cinema, and fashion, and women’s social situation too. Also, as I intended to introduce fashion into art language, magazines were part of my inspiration. My partnership with Pablo Mesejean was not only artistic but personal too. Life and art mingled. Jorge Romero Brest, the art critic who was at the time the director of the Institute Di Tella’s Visual Arts department, said that Pablo Mesejean and I were the most truly Pop artists of our generation.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy, and Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.


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