Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures

12 Oct

Moi usually goes to the press preview of upcoming exhibits at Seattle Art Museum (SAM), but she was unable to attend the press preview for Pop Departures. SAM generously provided moi with tickets to view the exhibit at another time. This was good because moi not only reviewed the exhibit, but got to go on the FREE exhibit tour with other patrons conducted by a SAM staffer. The tour was informative, funny at times because of the I PAD info and double entendres. The tour group was about twenty five to thirty and people seemed to enjoy the tour. Here is information about the exhibit:

Pop Departures

Oct 9 2014 – Jan 11 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

First, many folk do not think that pop art is art. The Art Story has a very good synopsis of pop art:


Pop art is now most associated with the work of New York artists of the early 1960s such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Claes Oldenburg, but artists who drew on popular imagery were part of an international phenomenon in various cities from the mid-1950s onwards. Following the popularity of the Abstract Expressionists, Pop’s reintroduction of identifiable imagery (drawn from mass media and popular culture) was a major shift for the direction of modernism. The subject matter became far from traditional “high art” themes of morality, mythology, and classic history; rather, Pop artists celebrated commonplace objects and people of everyday life, in this way seeking to elevate popular culture to the level of fine art. Perhaps owing to the incorporation of commercial images, Pop art has become one of the most recognizable styles of modern art.

Key Points

By creating paintings or sculptures of mass culture objects and media stars, the Pop art movement aimed to blur the boundaries between “high” art and “low” culture. The concept that there is no hierarchy of culture and that art may borrow from any source has been one of the most influential characteristics of Pop art.

It could be argued that the Abstract Expressionists searched for trauma in the soul, while Pop artists searched for traces of the same trauma in the mediated world of advertising, cartoons, and popular imagery at large. But it is perhaps more precise to say that Pop artists were the first to recognize that there is no unmediated access to anything, be it the soul, the natural world, or the built environment. Pop artists believed everything is inter-connected, and therefore sought to make those connections literal in their artwork.

Although Pop art encompasses a wide variety of work with very different attitudes and postures, much of it is somewhat emotionally removed. In contrast to the “hot” expression of the gestural abstraction that preceded it, Pop art is generally “coolly” ambivalent. Whether this suggests an acceptance of the popular world or a shocked withdrawal, has been the subject of much debate.

Pop artists seemingly embraced the post-WWII manufacturing and media boom. Some critics have cited the Pop art choice of imagery as an enthusiastic endorsement of the capitalist market and the goods it circulated, while others have noted an element of cultural critique in the Pop artists’ elevation of the everyday to high art: tying the commodity status of the goods represented to the status of the art object itself, emphasizing art’s place as, at base, a commodity.

The majority of Pop artists began their careers in commercial art: Andy Warhol was an highly successful magazine illustrator and graphic designer; Ed Ruscha was also a graphic designer, and James Rosenquist started his career as a billboard painter. Their background in the commercial art world trained them in the visual vocabulary of mass culture as well as the techniques to seamlessly merge the realms of high art and popular culture….                                                                                                                                                     http://www.theartstory.org/movement-pop-art.htm#


How Pop Art plundered consumerist culture


Lead with Interactive®


Pop-Art Movement


Second, one thing struck moi is the role of women and the use of women in the pop art movement. E-flux really summarizes the gender dominance:

The exhibition focuses on three decisive artistic as well as social and economic moments. It opens with key works from the 1960s by artists who first defined our understanding of pop—including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Robert Indiana, Ed Ruscha, and Tom Wesselmann. Their interventions in the very fabric of commercial imagery and consumer goods came in reaction to the buoyant consumer optimism of the post-war period. They prompted an engagement with that media world, its materials and techniques, and they negotiated the status of the artwork within art history and a larger market economy.

The exhibition then considers the criticality towards photography in the 1980s and 1990s, a time when growing deregulation led to changes in the media industry and a merging of advertisement and entertainment. Artists such as Robert Heinecken, Barbara Kruger, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Richard Prince appropriated commercial images to craft messages that exposed the quiet seduction of the photographic image in establishing norms and shaping identities.

With the shift into a digital era, consumer culture has again undergone profound changes with large volumes of purchases conducted online. The critical approaches by contemporary artists such as Josephine Meckseper, Elad Lassry, and Rachel Harrison focus on the aesthetics of product display. Much of their work is predicated on making the easy consumption of objects strange, and forcing us to look slowly, carefully at a time when our consumption of images seems increasingly accelerated. In this brave new world, the status of the artwork appears more precarious than ever….http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/pop-departures/

The exhibit shows the art of women in the 80s and 2000s. The 60s were about the men with a little help from wives and girlfriends. Women were objects just like a can of Coke.


Where Are the Great Women Pop Artists?


Pop Art: 8 artists every designer should know


Regarding the technique of producing the art – well, it depended upon the artist. Some, like Lichtenstein were precise in his Ben-Day process, others like Warhol who used for example, the blotted-line technique, which was not as precise. Pop art is accessible to many because it harkens to the familiar which is found every day in advertising. Whether pop art is art that an individual likes or a gigantic inside joke really does depend upon the eye of the beholder.

Other reviews:

The Power of Pop Art at Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures


Pop Departures


Dr. Wilda gives Pop Departures a thumbs up.

Dr. Wilda also recommends: City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India

Aug 30 2014 – Feb 16 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries


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2 Responses to “Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures”


  1. Dr. Wilda Reviews Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop at Seattle Art Museum | drwildareviews - November 23, 2014

    […] Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures                                                     https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/dr-wilda-reviews-seattle-art-museums-pop-departures/ […]

  2. Dr. Wilda Reviews Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop at Seattle Art Museum | drwilda - November 23, 2014

    […] Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures                                                     https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/dr-wilda-reviews-seattle-art-museums-pop-departures/ […]

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