Bold And Iconic Works By Warhol, Lichtenstein And Ruscha On View At The NMACC
- 19 Dec '23
- 2:11 pm by Tanvee Abhyankar
Dive into the world of Pop Art, where 12 legendary pop artists and their classic works are exhibited across themes. Titled “POP: FAME, LOVE, AND POWER“, the show at the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre in Mumbai offers glimpses into the golden era of the Pop Art movement. Spread across four floors, the exhibition features artworks on themes of ‘Fame,’ ‘Love,’ and ‘Power,’ and a special floor for an immersive experience. Curated by London-based Lawrence Van Hagen, a post-war and contemporary art specialist, this exhibition is his first major institutional project in India.
The first floor focuses on ‘fame,’ where stardom and glamour define the work of these Pop artists. Each artist expresses their perspective through their chosen medium that aligns with the concept of fame. This theme holds great significance in the Pop movement, especially during the 1960s when pop culture began taking its recognizable form. It largely revolves around the “American Dream.” It features representations of iconic figures such as Marilyn Monroe, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Aretha Franklin, Sylvester Stallone, Giorgio Armani, and Gianni Versace in Andy Warhol‘s works, predominantly in portraits and various forms. Notable among these is Edward Ruscha’s work titled ‘Level As A Level.’ in which one can distinctively experience the artist’s calibre of converting art on canvas into a photograph with exceptional calligraphy and realistic colours.
The second floor explores the theme of ‘love’, as it serves as a universal language and mirrors the themes of the Pop Art movement. It encompasses themes of friendship, unity, romance, idealisation, and beauty, making it a pivotal subject during the “flower generation” of the 60s and 70s. This term referred particularly to youth of this era advocating for peace and love amid international conflicts–a timely theme in current times.
The artworks on this floor are rooted in New York of the 1960s, where self-expression and individualism thrived alongside the euphoric sense of unity and freedom. Notable works include Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture, Keith Haring’s vibrant canvases, Tom Wesselmann’s portrayals of intimacy, and Roy Lichtenstein’s dynamically painted portraits.
The third floor delves into ideas of ‘power,’ a subject that emerged with consumerism, politics, new media, advertising, and industrialisation post-World War II. The artworks on this floor provide an introspective view of the effects of these elements and how pop artists perceived them, creating a compelling narrative for 21st-century audiences.
Highlighting this theme are notable artworks such as Andy Warhol’s “The Sixteen Jackies,” “Dollar Sign,” and “Flowers.” Elaine Sturtevant’s impeccable recreation of Warhol’s flowers, Robert Rauschenberg’s “Periwinkle Shaft and Gulch,” and Edward Ruscha’s soul-stirring oil on canvas titled ‘President’ further contribute to this thought-provoking exploration of power in art.
On the fourth floor is a piece by Andy Warhol titled ‘Silver Clouds,’ which has been recreated by The Andy Warhol Museum. This touch-friendly installation features numerous floating metallic balloons filled with a combination of air and pure helium. It offers patrons a tactile experience, representing the culmination of Warhol’s artistic practice. Here, one can witness the fusion of the ordinary with the beautiful, every day with the exquisite, challenging traditional views of art and its potential interactions.
The exhibition is on view at the NMACC Art House from December 1, 2023, to February 11, 2024.