World Goes Pop at Tate Modern

The World Goes Pop exhibition at the Tate Modern was a real eye-opener for me, showing pop art in a completely different light.  There are no works by Warhol, Lichtenstein or Hamilton here, rather obscure pieces by various international artists, none of whom I had heard of.

The pieces engage with the style of pop art; bright colours, bold, striking forms and re-appropriated pop culture iconography, but also bristle with ideas, exploring themes such as war, authoritarianism, consumerism, sex and gender politics.

I particularly liked Teresinha Soares’ ‘Morrem Tantos Homes e Eu Tao Aqui So’, a 3 dimensional mixed media painting from 1969.  Writhing sexualised forms juxtapose glimpses of war and violence, filtered through the lens of a television screen; a comment on the Vietnam war and perhaps also Brazil’s military dictatorship. 

I also really liked Judy Chicago’s ‘Bigamy Hood’, ‘Birth Hood’ and ‘Flight Hood’, a series of spray-lacquered car bonnets from 1965 which transform a stereotypically machismo icon into beautiful, feminine paintings, exploring ideas of birth, death and freedom.

The exhibition is brilliantly curated, well laid-out and finished with fine attention to detail, for example each room was painted in a bold colour or wallpapered in such a way as to reflect its contents. 

Thought-provoking, eye-opening and entertaining – highly recommended.