Pop Art Design in the Vitra Design Museum

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Article from the 2012-10-16, by Markus Abraham

Pop Art Design
13.10.2012 - 03.02.2013
Vitra Design Museum

Pop Art is considered the most important artistic movement since 1945. It focused on the star-trend, goods-fetish and medial reproduction guided every day of the post-war time and embosses the cultural self-understanding of our society until today. One main Pop Art characteristic was the dialogue of design and art which is presented in a grand exposition by the Vitra Design Museum for the first time in the exposition “Pop Art Design”. Works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein or Judy Chicago are thereby presented in contrast to design objects by Charles Eames, George Nelson, Achille Castiglioni or Ettore Sottsass. The exposition is fulfilled by numerous further displayed mediums such as record covers, magazines, films and recordings of contemporaneous interiors. Fifty years after the official declaration of Pop-Art in a conference of the New York Museum of Modern Art, the exposition “Pop Art Design” displays a new image of Pop-Art – one in which design plays a central role for the first time.

Panton Swimming Pool

The exposition doesn’t only offer a fascinating panorama of an époque with its pointed opposition of arts and design objects, but it also offers a new kind of understanding for both design disciplines. This is how it shows that design was an equal dialogue partner; partly it even was the impulse for Pop-Art. At the same time it emphasizes that many everyday objects and the Radical Design of the 1960es were serious facets of the Pop movement. The exposition wants to reach a detailed view to the phenomenon Pop instead of only celebrating the creative soul of one movement: it is about the migration of motives between arts and design, about the balance of everyday objects and the image, and it is about how the conquer of our daily life until the dominating pop culture of today started. This point of view is contemporaneous since it doesn’t only ask for the relationship of Pop Art and our own lifestyle as well as for the very present consume culture. Many defenders of Pop-Art left their thoughts knowingly uncommented, but it is about their historic works, to re-vitalize such questions again and again until today.

Tom Wesselmann - Smoker

The exposition might also use objects that have been rarely seen in this quality and amount for the unfolding of this exposition concept. It unifies approx. 140 works, one half of them artworks, another one design objects, fulfilled with numerous pictures, documents, films and texts. A more ancient, by Warhol designed Paravent (1958), a “Target Painting” by Jasper Johns (1957), the hardly ever exposed sofa “Leonardo”, Roy Lichtenstein’s huge “Yellow Brushstroke” (1965), James Rosenquit’s “I Love You With My Ford” (1961), the monumental lamp “Moloc” by Gaetano Pesce (1970-71) or the Allen Jones’ armchair “Chair” (1969) are som of the most important works of the exposition.

Ffurther information: http://www.design-museum.de/en

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