Pop to popism: Sydney International Art Series

‘Pop to popism’ is the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ (AGNSW) summer exhibition extravaganza. Opening its doors to the public in November last year, the exhibition presents the most comprehensive collection of pop art ever to be seen in Australia.

Featuring over 200 works by more than 70 of pop’s greatest artists – many of which have never before been exhibited in Australia – the exhibition spans three decades. From the mid-1950s to the 1980s, it traces pop from its origins through to its heyday, and its enduring legacy both in Australia and internationally.

Part of the Sydney International Art Series, ‘Pop to popism’ takes over an entire floor of the AGNSW and curates Australian pop artists alongside their international peers from America, Britain and Europe.

Featured artists include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Brett Whiteley, Richard Hamilton, Martin Sharp, Gilbert and George, Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Peter Blake, Richard Larter, Niki de Saint Phalle and Maria Kozic.

Wayne Tunnicliffe, Head Curator of Australian Art, developed this exhibition over two years and states: “Pop art changed culture forever and yet no pop survey exhibition has included Australian artists – ‘Pop to popism’ grew from a desire to see our artists exhibited in an international context.”

Works of art are on loan from 49 institutions and private collections worldwide, including the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Museum of Modern Art and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; the Menil Collection, Houston; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the JW Power Collection, Sydney.

The gallery devised a program to accompany the exhibition and with the extravaganza in its final few weeks, it is worth visiting so to not miss special features such as ‘POP PLAY’ – a creative family space with interactive artmaking activities; and ‘POP CAFÉ’, which gives visitors a chance to refuel during their exhibition visit with special food and drink offerings from the Gallery’s caterers MorSul.

Tunnicliffe remarks: “The Gallery has taken a highly creative approach to presenting exhibitions for many years, but this time we have challenged ourselves to go to a new level and present a complete pop experience.”

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Until 1 March, 2015

David Hockney, Portrait of an artist, 1972, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 213.3 x 304.8cm
Howard Arkley, Triple fronted, 1987, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 169.9 x 241.9 x 5.5cm
Courtesy The Lewis Collection and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney