It has an enviable collection of Pop Art, including pieces by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Pauline Boty, Sir Peter Blake and Clive Barker. Now, Wolverhampton Art Gallery has took some of its very best pieces out of storage for a new exhibition ‘Pick of the Pops’, and I ‘popped’ along to see it for myself.
Pop Art is a bit like the marmite of the art world, you either love it or hate it. Some find the mixture of pop culture references (Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s soup tins, rock and roll etc) and super bright, sometimes cartoonish images garish, but for fan of the art form it is instantly recognisable and totally accessible.
Wolverhampton has some stunning pieces that range from paintings and prints to sculpture. Marilyn Monroe is heavily represented, not least but the work of Pauline Boty, for me the first lady of Pop Art and a woman who was as beautiful and tragic as Marilyn herself (Pauline was dead at 28 from a cancer discovered when she was pregnant with the daughter, she was christened Boty as a way to remember her mother and also became an artist who died young.) ‘Colour her Gone’ was created in 1962, the year Marilyn died, and uses on of the last images of Marilyn, a photograph by George Barriss as its basis. It is one of my fave pieces of art work, but is not the only one that references the actress, with ‘Marilyn on a Coke Bottle’ by Clive Barker also part of the current exhibition.
Other influences and subjects include Janis Joplin (Pop Singer by Larry Rivers), Jacqueline Kennedy (Jacqueline by Andy Warhol), The Beach Boys(Beach Boys by Sir Peter Blake) and Bridget Bardot.
If you love Pop Art, or just want to see some pieces up close so you can make a decision for yourself, then check out the current exhibition. It is totally free of charge and full of wonderful works of art created by some of the most important artists of the mid twentieth century.
To view the full range of exhibitions at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, click here.