Thursday, 12 October 2017

Marilyn Flowers Lips Gun Mirror Cactus

Guido Drocco and Franco Mello - Radiant Cactus, 2017

To Savile Row to see a small, but high impact exhibition of Pop Art, and a collective of cacti known as a spike. More or less everybody is familiar with Pop Art, whose remit according to artist Richard Hamilton was to be - 

‘Popular (designed for a mass audience); Transient (short term solution); Expendable (easily forgotten); Low Cost; Mass Produced; Young (aimed at Youth); Witty; Sexy; Gimmicky; Glamorous; and Big Business’. 

With all of this taken into consideration Pop is certainly an art form for the present day, with both old and young's preoccupations with social media, and its use as a tool as a platform for instant, global fame. Andy Warhol's assertion that - "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes", certainly rings true in an age that celebrates celebrity. 

Andy Warhol - Orange Gun, 1982

Although the artists featured here are world famous, and their work has therefore become fairly ubiquitous and synonymous with the Pop Art movement, this show presents works by the artists which have never been seen in the UK before. We are presented with Warhol's fascination with celebrity in the portraits of Marilyn. The American fascination with weapons, and the obsession with their constitutional right to bear arms are explored in the large print of the gun, (Warhol would actually go on to be shot by an associate - Valerie Solanas). This is, sadly a highly contentious image given the recent atrocity in Las Vegas by a man with a large cache of automatic weapons. The last image by Warhol is a fairly inoffensive but bold image of flowers.

Andy Warhol - Four Multicoloured Marilyns (Reversal Series), 1979-1986

Roy Lichtenstein - Mirror #2, 1970 

I love the conceit of Lichtenstein's Mirror #2. The Ben-Day dot technique he uses in his work is also the very same printing technique used on the coloured papers that I incorporate in my own work. I also like the commercial art billboard painting techniques and implied eroticism of Tom Wesselman's paintings. The new discovery for me in this show was this forest of polyurethane glow-in-the-dark cacti, which were originally created in 1972 by artists Guido Drocco and Franco Mello for the Italian firm Gufram. They were apparently conceived as coat-hangers, but perfectly fit the original, playful, gimmicky remit of the spirit of Pop.

Tom Wesselman - Smoker #22, 1975

Andy Warhol - Flowers, 1964-1965

Marilyn Flowers Lips Gun Mirror Cactus
until 16th December
25 Saville Row