Plastic Culture: Legacies of Pop 1962-2008

28 Mar 2009 – 29 May 2009

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Harris Museum & Art Gallery

Preston, United Kingdom


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Plastic Culture examines the visual and cultural impact of the 1960s Pop Art movement upon subsequent generations of artists in Japan, the UK and the USA.

Curated by artist Richard Kirwan, the exhibition includes around thirty artworks from internationally acclaimed and new emerging artists working between 1962 and 2008. These include Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Mariko Mori, Machiko Edmondson, Yoshitomo Nara, Gajin Fujita, Rachal Bradley, James Howard, Tony Oursler, KAWS and Daniel Sturgis. A new piece from Richard Kirwan also features in the show.

The exhibition is more than a survey of Pop Art. It demonstrates how the pioneering work of Andy Warhol enabled and influenced artists to work using new media and technologies, and to approach painting and photography with a set of concerns and attitudes led by technological innovation. It also shows that what came after Pop Art was not simply a celebration of consumerism.

The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, video, photography, poster installation, and site specific installation. It features loans from galleries and private collections across the world including London, Paris, Geneva, Cologne, and New York.

Warhol's iconic piece Self-Portrait (1986), on loan from Tate, comes from a series made the year before his death. New work such as Machiko Edmondson's Shipping Forecast (2008), make a debut alongside more well-known pieces such as Fiona Rae's Don't Make the Skies Fall Down!!, (2000) and Cindy Sherman's Untitled #424, (2000).

The exhibition breaks with the convention that Pop was an Anglo-American phenomenon by acknowledging the influence of Japan as a newly emergent force in contemporary art. Following the 'slacker' art movement of the early 1990s, the evolution of Pop Art was taken to new heights by Eastern artists such as Takashi Murakami who founded the so-called 'Superflat' style. Influenced by the 'factory' approach, anime, manga, and Western artists like Jeff Koons, the 'Superflat' style describes various flattened colour and forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine art. This is exemplified in Plastic Culture by the inclusion of 'Superflat' artists such as Yoshitomo Nara and his work The Mini Puff Marshies (2007).

The exhibition consequently shows how the evolution of Pop Art has influenced the varying approaches taken by contemporary artists working across the world. The digital, surface-obsessed aesthetic of the selected works in Plastic Culture clearly demonstrate how diverse contemporary practices can address common ideas, such as cultural identity and the impact of globalisation.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition, including essays by Richard Kirwan and Roger Cook - who was introduced to Warhol in 1966 at his studio The Factory.

Visit www.harrismuseum.org.uk for latest details of related talks and events.

The exhibition has been funded by Arts Council Northwest, Holiday Inn, Preston, The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Preston Tithebarn and Renaissance Northwest.


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