Pop Art: 20th Century Popular Culture as Muse

  • Oct 31, 2015 – Jan 31, 2016
  • The Gregory D. Ivy Gallery, The Weatherspoon Guild Gallery
Andy Warhol, "Liz", 1965, silkscreen on paper, 23 1/8 x 23 1/8 in. Museum
purchase with funds from the Benefactors Fund, 1965.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum has a deep collection of Pop art and will feature some of its signature prints and multiples this fall in Pop Art: 20th-century Popular Culture as Muse. Beginning in the late 1950s, a new art movement began gaining traction in America. A reaction to the then-dominant ideas and techniques of Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art challenged traditions of fine art by showcasing commercial techniques and representational imagery derived from popular culture. Source material included advertising, journalism, comic books, and other mundane cultural artifacts such as road signs and consumer goods. These subjects were treated in an impersonal manner that minimized the artist’s personal involvement in the creation of the artwork and idealized mass production. For example, Roy Lichtenstein made use of the large Ben-Day dots found in commercial printing to comment simultaneously on the methods and the message of mass media. Andy Warhol also favored mechanical production processes and exploited newspaper and tabloid clippings of celebrities and current events as source material for his images. Even artists who were part of the second generation of Pop artists, such as Ed Ruscha and Mel Ramos, found twentieth-century popular culture inspirational. Ruscha’s text-based artforms are strongly influenced by his early career as a graphic designer while Mel Ramos’s prints comment on the incessant relationship between sex and advertising. Come discover what subjects and techniques of Pop art interest you most.

The exhibition is organized by Elaine D. Gustafson, Curator of Collections.

Related programs

A/V Geeks Presents 1960s Pop Culture • Thu Dec 3 @ 6:30pm

Noon @ the 'Spoon • Tue Dec 8 @ 12pm


We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.