This Spring we’re being truly spoilt as Pallant House Gallery showcases its British Pop Art collection in a major exhibition that’s no more than two minutes walk from the studio. (Amazing.)
The 1950s and 1960s saw an explosion in commerce and a sophisticated new era of marketing. Pop Art demonstrates a celebration and uneasiness about it. And while the American Pop Artists are well-known, this exhibition puts their lesser-known British counterparts on the map.
Now, we make graphics that are self-consciously ‘pop’. Lots of work in our portfolio nods to it. But in the mid 20th century, fine artists were the ones poking fun at mass-market visual culture. Hard to believe, but this was the advent of ‘irony’.
These artists were refining the art of referencing and sampling that’s now so commonplace we’ve no idea what’s real. Or what real even is.
There is plenty here to excite graphic designers.
In his 1965 series ‘As is When’, Eduardo Paolozzi explored the screen-printing techniques most often used for commercial purposes. There’s a narrative here about mass production. But we’re drawn to the collaged technical process patterns and acidic 60s colours. They have a very current appeal.
We can’t help liking Pop Art. For a practice like us, dedicated to playfulness and with a penchant for irreverence, it’s got lots to admire.
Our lasting impression is that while the Pop Artists borrowed from commercial practice, we’ve in turn borrowed from them, and the boundaries between art and design are not so very clear at all.
‘Pop! Art in Changing Britain’ runs from 24 February to 7 May 2018 at Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, PO19 1TJ Tel: 01243 774557