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Updated 12:15 PM June 6, 2005




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UMMA adds some Pop! to summer exhibitions

Continuing its tradition of vibrant and historic summer exhibitions, the U-M Museum of Art (UMMA) will present Pop! June 5-Sept. 25.
Robert Indiana's "Love" (Robert Indiana © Morgan Art Foundation Ltd./Artists Rights Society)

The exhibit revisits the impact of Pop art through more than 100 emblematic images from the 1950s to the early 70s by some of the most iconic artists of the last 50 years, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Tom Wesselmann, Richard Hamilton, Ed Ruscha and Claes Oldenburg.

The exhibition features works of Pop art from renowned public and private collections from across the country alongside UMMA's own holdings.

"Pop! showcases UMMA's ongoing commitment to looking at key artists and movements while asking visitors to explore these in new ways," says UMMA Director James Steward. "Following on the heels of UMMA's recent summer exhibitions showcasing the art of Picasso, Rodin and O'Keeffe, Pop! promises to challenge visitors to think freshly about the art of the 1960s, while also simply being great fun."

Drawing inspiration from contemporary society—including mass-produced consumer goods, comic books, movies, television, music, illustration, advertising and automobile design—Pop artists often referenced the buoyant mood and boom atmosphere of the post-World War II economy. In doing so, the artists brought the influences of mainstream culture to high art in ways never seen before, creating a new—and newly accessible—visual language.

In 1957, English artist Hamilton defined the movement this way: "Pop art is popular (designed for a mass audience), transient (short-term solution), expendable (easily forgotten), low-cost, mass-produced, young (aimed at youth), witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous; big business."

Originating in England in the 1950s and emerging as a major force in the United States in the early 60s, Pop art encompassed a variety of styles loosely joined together through the use of strong, flat colors, ironic tone, simplified design and often-banal subject matter. Many Pop artists saw themselves as breaking away from the reigning artistic movement of the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism, with its muscular application of paint and its focus on the artistic persona. Instead, many Pop artists used hard-edged graphic techniques and an anonymous style to make strong statements about expendability and commodification, and about the close relationship between everyday life and the world of high art.

Highlights from the exhibition include Warhol's soup cans (1968) alongside his portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy (1964), Marilyn Monroe (1967) and Elizabeth Taylor (1963); Lichtenstein's "Yellow and White Brushstrokes" (1965); Indiana's "Love" (1967); James Rosenquist's "G.E." (1966); Jasper Johns's "Flag" (1956—58); and Hamilton's "Kent State" (1970).

Pop! is sponsored by Borders Group, the Office of the Provost, Michigan Radio and Michigan Television, The Ann Arbor News, the State Street Area Association, the Kerrytown District Association, the Main Street Area Association, and the Friends of the Museum of Art.

For more information, call (734) 763-8662 or visit

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