Weekend DO: International POP at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Searching for something to do this weekend? Check out the PMA’s latest exhibition…

What comes to mind when you think of Pop Art? Warhol? Rows upon rows of grinning Marilyns and Jackies… Maybe Lichtenstein? Ben Day dots congregating like swarms of bees as your eyes slowly adjust to the (quite literal) big picture. It’s a well known genre, the style of art that initiates many a high school art student into the world of contemporary art, second only to Surrealism as a “favorite”. And yet… how much do we really know? Pop Art extends its branches so much farther than Warhol’s Factory and Lichtenstein’s comic frames, in a time fraught with cultural and societal shifts, norms upending, rules and laws questioned and broken, Pop Art in all its iterations became the megaphone from which artists across the world proclaimed their discontent. International Pop, on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 15th, explores the phenomenon of Pop Art and, as the name implies, its effect on the art world as a whole.

Though excited to view it on the afternoon of its opening, I approached the exhibition with a small amount of trepidation. Would this be like all the others? Having lived in close proximity to The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, I’d honestly felt as though I’d had my fill, and in the back of my mind, I think that’s what I anticipated being met with. The same Factory paintings, maybe some Johns and Rauschenberg thrown in for good luck. Well, I was wrong. Gloriously so. Instead, I was led room to room by collage, sculpture, paintings, drawings, and assemblage hailing from across the globe. Works created by artists whom I’ve studied, and artists unknown to me until now. Perspectives hailing from Brazil and Argentina, Germany and Japan, Slovakia and Italy, many of them overlapping, views of the same event the same and yet vastly different. Political unrest, gender non-conformity, economic hardship… celebrity and capitalism… making my way through the galleries, the parallels drawn between the era represented on the walls and the era that we’re living right now were striking. The art created in reaction sometimes beautiful, many times grotesque, at all times moving. This is an exhibition best viewed more than once and I already have my plans to return.

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Philadelphia is the only location on the East Coast where International Pop will be shown, so start planning your trip now! For further information, tickets, and hours please visit philamuseum.org

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