Pop Open: Icons of Pop Art

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Category: Past Exhibits / Location: 1401 North 3rd Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17102

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ON VIEW January 16 – March 1, 2015

The vibrant colors and bold designs inherent in the work of the Pop artists of the 1960s and ‘70s are highly appropriate for the excitement generated by the opening of a new museum anywhere, but particularly attuned to Harrisburg’s Midtown, a section of the city undergoing vast commercial and artistic development

Pop Open comes to the Susquehanna Art Museum from Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum. Little known beyond the boundaries of Upper State New York and not traveled previously, this collection of fifty works by major Pop Art artists graces the walls of the new museum as our opening exhibition. It includes works from every important artist of the movement, offering an opportunity for the public of Central Pennsylvania (and beyond) to experience and to learn from this moment in American art history. 

Pop Art grew out of a reaction to Abstract Expressionism, with that movement’s emphasis on nonobjective subjective matter and instinctual brushwork. Pop Art, by contrast, employed a representational style to focus on the signature objects of our daily lives, often in unique ways to enhance awareness. Among the influences for these  works were American advertising, comic book characters, and product logos and labeling. 

Andy Warhol’s soup cans, Claes Oldenburg’s soft sculptures, Robert Rauschenberg’s use of ephemeral materials and images of topical eventsall ushered in a new era of art history, dominating the cultural scene in New York City by the early 1960s. Major all-inclusive exhibitions soon followed—at the Pasadena Art Museum and the Guggenheim Museum, for example—celebrating and “historicizing” the style. Pop Art continues to enthrall present-day audiences, as witnessed by London’s Tate Gallery exhibition, Shopping: A Century of Art and Consumer Culture, of 2002.

Artists on view:

Niki de Saint Phalle, Jim Dine, Marisol Escobar, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Peter Max, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, George Segal, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann

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