The spirit of Pop Art not only manifested itself in Warhol’s paintings of celebrities and Campbell’s soup cans, it also influenced the look of chairs, sofas, lamps, and even architecture. Pop Art Design, an exhibition organized by the Vitra Design Museum, pairs iconic design objects with artworks to show the cross-pollination between these creative worlds. The Chicago presentation of Pop Art Design runs from December 19, 2015 to March 27, 2016, and is organized by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling.
In Pop Art Design, works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Mel Ramos are shown alongside design objects by Charles Eames, George Nelson, Achille Castiglioni and Verner Panton to show how design was an equal dialogue partner for Pop Art, and in some cases, the lead impetus. At the same time, it demonstrates that many everyday objects and the Radical Design of the 1960s were serious facets of the Pop movement.
Pop Art shaped a new sense of cultural identity, with a focus on celebrity, mass consumer production, and the expanding industries of advertising, television, radio and print media. Pop Art Design offers new insights into the pop phenomenon: the migration of motifs between art and design; the relationship between everyday object and image; and how everyday life first came under the still-dominant influence of pop culture.
Pop Art’s influence on furniture, graphic design, and architecture has until this point not received the attention they deserve. Pop Art Design unites over 150 works, some of them artworks and some design objects, along with numerous photographs, documents, films, and texts. Some of the highlights of the exhibition include George Nelson’s Marshmallow Sofa (1955); Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans II (1969); Studio 65’s Leonardo sofa which has rarely been exhibited since it was first produced in 1969; Allen Jones’s provocative Chair (1969); Robert Rauschenberg’s Retroactive II (1963); Verner Panton’s Cone Armchair K3 (1959); Superstudio’s Passiflora floor or wall lamp (1966), and Claes Oldenburg’s Green Beans (1964).
Presented alongside this exhibition is a companion show of classic pop works from the MCA Collection, offering a fresh perspective on how Pop Art continues to shape our cultural understanding to this day. The Street, the Store, and the Silver Screen: Pop Art from the MCA Collection (December 19, 2015 - March 27, 2016), includes seminal works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Christo, and Roy Lichtenstein. The three themes – the Street, the Store, and the Silver Screen – provide ways to interpret the art and ideology of the period, which inevitably lead back to the considerations of everyday life. Works by these artists are complemented by others by George Segal, Marcel Broodthaers, Ed Ruscha, Allan D’Arcangelo, and Larry Rivers, along with additional works from local Chicago collections, organized into three thematic sections. This exhibition is curated by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling.
Catalogue The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly-illustrated catalogue published by Vitra Design Museum. It features essays by Diedrich Diederichsen, Brigitte Felderer, Steven Heller, Thomas Kellein, Bettina Korintenberg, Tobias Lander, Marco Livingstone, Mathias Schwartz-Clauss and Dario Scodeller.