Written by Kirstie Nel, student in the Masters’ program in Art Therapy
Visit to Pop and Op Art Exhibition @ Haifa Museum of Art
I was never a big fan of the Pop Art era or artists today that draw from it stylistically, but the Pop and Op Art exhibition at Haifa Museum of Art gave me new appreciation for the art movement. The exhibition titled; From Andy Warhol to the Present Day: Culture, Color, Body, gives an overview of the past and present engagement of artists that would fall under the banner of “Pop Art”.
The exhibition statement reads:
In 1963 Andy Warhol proclaimed, “I want to be a machine,” thereby noting the loss of authenticity in contemporary culture, and with it, the loss of legitimacy of the artist’s emotional expression. The discussion of the representation of the real, the original, and the beautiful, and of the lack of authenticity in the technological age – from modernism until today – is the subject of this exhibition cluster. This subject is explored in relation to the way in which the technological and digital age has turned color into a mass uniform commercial product, in which there is no more room for individual, unique expression. The word “authenticity” was a key concept in modernism and the modernist avant-garde, whereas the rise of post-modernism introduced the opposite message, of fiction and illusion. New media technologies have created a situation in which human society replaces reality with its simulation, using signs, symbols, and a great multitude of visual means.
I have never met the work of the famous Pop artists such as Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein in person before, and have only been familiar with it from a computer screen. As one walks into the museum one first receives a plastic cup with sparkling wine (although the plastic cups were used because the wine glasses ran out), which I found a charming and fitting accompaniment to viewing Pop Art. From there one is greeted with multiple silk-screened portraits by Andy Warhol that hang against a bright blue painted wall. Here and there one is surprised with a bright pop of colour on the wall on which a bold artwork is hung throughout the exhibition (it is a very nice touch in deviating from the traditional white cube). Pop Art has a striking and bold quality to it and hats off to the curator, Svetlana Reingold for giving each striking artwork a space in which to breath as well as live harmoniously with other bold artworks from different artist.
The exhibition made me take a closer look at the artworks I had previously not thought much of and cultivated a new appreciation for the movement and the inspiration and influence it has on present-day artists. The exhibition, most importantly reminded me of the playful and silliness of Pop Art but also its very sharp, critical edge in its discourse with society.
I personally appreciated the opportunity to see the subject-matters other artists in Israel were engaging with. My favourite work of the evening was the etchings of Pnina Reichmann, an artist born in Germany in 1947 and working in Tel Aviv. I strongly recommend anyone interested in art and printmaking to look up her work.
The Pop and Op Art Exhibition at the Haifa Museum of Art opened on Saturday evening 12.12.15 and will be open for viewing until 5.05.16.