Hello from London! Arrived here on Sunday and leaving in the AM for Paris. I’m here for a showing of my 3d pop art at Art London and while here, I took the opportunity to go to the Pop Art Life exhibit at the Tate Modern. The exhibit has been causing a stir all over the world and now I know why.
First off, Art London was a great experience. I loved it! It reminded me of what Art Expo New York was like ten years ago. Very slick….a lot of wonderful artwork…not a lot of “art” that you had to stand around, think about, and pretend to like….like the telephone/office exhibit I blogged about last week. Peter Blake’s Art Bus stood outside to welcome everyone and the mix of art was thoughtful, fun, and even a little bit daring…but not too avant-garde to be appreciated. I actually met quite a few people who were familiar with my work but even more fun was to watch all of the people who had never seen it before. I went out on a bit of a limb, concentrating more on my original paintings and 3d pop art dioramas than on the limited edition artwork that most people are used to. I heard a lot of “oohs” and “aahhhs” and I was pretty excited about the response. I’m trying to get these “special” pieces out there and Art London was really the first opportunity I’ve had to do so. It was encouraging and certainly motivated me to create even more!
After Art London, it was off to the Tate Modern. Wow! So, even before I went, I read another review of the show…this one from the Wall Street Journal. What a contradiction! The article is a total condemnation of “shock artists” like Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons who, under the guise of “artists,” sensationalize and exploit, catering to the lowest common denominator and playing on people’s tendencies to be attracted to extremes. The reason their artwork gets so much attention is the same reason we all slow down when we pass a car wreck. We shake our heads but can’t help staring and gawking anyway. But it’s the controversial character of the work that makes it viable for a TATE MODERN EXHIBITION! Sometimes, I just don’t get it.
I was happy to see that the same writer did, although briefly, mentioned a different “strain” of pop art – the mainstream, as far as I’m concerned…the strain I aspire to be a part of….Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Grooms, Haring, etc. This is MY pop art world. This is where I want to fit into art history.
So, I went to the Tate and even I was shocked! Many of the “works,” if that’s what you call them were more graphic than anything you’d ever see in a peep parlor or adult bookstore. The tension among the viewers was incredible. You could feel the level of embarrassment. The three old ladies in front of me almost choked on their dentures. Now I’m no prude…but really…is this REALLY what museums have to show these days? I guess it’s all about selling tickets. Maybe I should go out and stage a car wreck…blood and guts and all…and then sell tickets to anyone who wants to drive past. I’m still shaking my head.
Well…on to Paris!