POP ART has been much in the spotlight in recent years.
Punters have enjoyed a vibrant exhibition of pop from around the world at Tate Modern, while locally, there have been powerful displays of work by Andy Warhol at both the Ashmolean Museum and Modern Art Oxford, says Dave Davies.
I was a bit further afield, pacing the floors at MOMA in New York, when I decided to bring some of the electricity of pop to Dantzig Gallery in Woodstock.
The result is Whaam! Pop Art to showcase this shockwave movement in the history of 20th Century Art. On our walls we’ve hung knockout works from the big punchers of pop.
In the red corner there are Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, famous for his pictures parodying comic strips. And over in the blue corner you’ll find spectacular works from Peter Blake.
Still producing art in his West London studio at the grand old age of 85, Blake is best known as the artist who designed the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP – for which he was paid a flat fee of £200.
Naturally, the legacy of pop continues to resonate in 2018. We’re also excited to be presenting work from contemporary artists who have been influenced by the names mentioned above.
These include Peter Stark, who makes Lichtenstein-esque pictures using spray paint on canvas, with captions from the rap lyrics of Wu-Tang Clan, work from K-Guy, who has collaborated with The Prodigy, and recently enjoyed exhibitions in Sydney and New York, and one of the standout works in the show is Tehos Frederic Camalleri’s Million Dollar Baby – a stunning modern retake of Warhol’s classic Marilyn Monroe portraits from the early 60s.
We also feature brand new work from a young artist Xavier Renegade. His original acrylic on canvas painting of David Bowie is one of eight portraits of the musician in the show. Renegade’s work hasn’t previously been exhibited in the UK and our collaboration with him is part of the gallery’s ambition to work with and support young, emerging British artists.
All are guaranteed to add a splash of colour to a sluggish February.
As ever, gearing up for this exhibition has been huge fun. We have designed ultra-hip pin badges in the style of Roy Lichtenstein, and as Peter Blake made a famous painting, Self Portrait with Badges when he was a whippersnapper of 29, it’s well in keeping with the theme.
We have also put together a mega-trendy Spotify playlist featuring music inspired by the show, by the likes of Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones and Talking Heads.
So how to redecorate the gallery? We’re thinking silver.
Andy Warhol’s studio, The Factory, was the big meeting place for all the hipsters and starlets on the New York scene and its walls were covered in silver foil.
Warhol said he liked silver because it was the colour of the future, the colour of astronauts’ suits, but it was also the colour of the past – of the silver screen, and actresses on silver sets.
Of course, you’ll have to actually make it over to the gallery to see whether we went for silver. The show runs for three poptastic weeks until February 25.
This article appeared in The Oxford Times in February 2018.
Images from the launch party at Dantzig Gallery.