The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern : Wham, bang, wow, the impact hits you. As you enter you are assailed by vibrant colours and dramatic images. A sensual assault. Yet the once unsettling icons are now within our comfort zone: Tricky Dickie, the bomb, female sexual emancipation and protests. We are reminded that the world was as complex then as it is now.
Pop Art grew out of the 1960s mass consumerism and commercialisation, primarily in the UK and the USA, Warhol, Hall, Hockney and Lichtenstein being the principle proponents.
But here we have the influence of ‘Pop’ as enjoyed in places such as Slovakia, Romania, Belgium, Austria and France. Hardly then places of mass consumerism. And so the works displayed are a pale imitation of the dramatic impact ‘Pop’ made in the UK and USA. They are almost an apology for the local culture within which they were produced not being a central part of the brave new world that was imposing itself on Britain and America.
I entered the exhibition with a wow but left with a sigh. It made me ponder: was I right in thinking that these artists had not made a sincere contribution to this most important juggernaut in art, but had merely used it as a passenger vehicle for their own personal quirks and issues rather than develop their own style and movement?
Well done to the Tate Modern for giving us this opportunity to reflect and react to these sides shows of such a controversial art movement.