This latest exhibition to open at Tate Modern re-examines Pop art and the influence it has had around the world. The World Goes Pop showcases the work of artists from around the world and how they helped to contribute to the movement during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
From the second you step into the exhibition, you are immediately dazzled by the bold colours and the wide variety of material that has been selected to be displayed in this highly detailed exhibition. The first room focuses on introducing the different contexts and themes that the display covers and explaining how Pop art is not limited to advertisements or popular culture but also political propaganda and folk traditions.
But just because there is a serious message behind the images created by the artists, doesn’t mean that certain pieces aren’t fun to look at. One example is Ushio Shinohara’s Doll Festival (1966) which celebrates the annual festival that in turn celebrates the well being of young girls. It is a colourful celebration of tradition that uses a variety of materials to draw the viewer’s attention across the piece effectively.
But the exhibition occasionally feels as though it is overcrowded with different material, which in turn overemphasises the whole message that runs through the exhibition. However, despite this there is still a good combination between the familiar and unfamiliar to broaden visitor’s impression of Pop art.
The pieces that will make the biggest impression on the visitor are the ones that relate to political protest and objection to war. Due to the exhibition’s focus on art during the 1960’s and 70’s, there are lots of references to the Vietnam war, shown through pieces such as Shinkichi Tajiri’s Machine No.7 , one of a series of sculptures that were made between 1967-8 that is shaped like a hybrid of a fighter plane and gun.
But because of the boldness of the art work, in terms of colour and the message each of the artists are trying to convey to the viewer, it shows how important Pop art was in challenging people’s views such as sexual politics and political propaganda in a way that perhaps the media and other ways that we absorb news can’t.
Of course some of the work selected can seem over the top and dramatic, but Pop art can get away with this because underneath the dramatic colour and images, each artist is able to get us to think about a theme or topic in a different way. The exhibition proves that all of the artworks on display are still as powerful and important today as they were when they were originally created.
The World Goes Pop can come across as slightly chaotic in places such as during the Pop at Home and Consuming Pop sections of the exhibition but is successful in changing visitors perceptions of what Pop art could do in terms of addressing political themes head-on.
It is a shame that the exhibition doesn’t finish tidily and with a neat conclusion in the Consuming Pop section that doesn’t seem to suggest anything important except that perhaps the exhibition has run out of things to say. But overall, The World Goes Pop is bright, bold and thought-provoking but enjoyable as well.
The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop runs at the Tate Modern until the 24th January 2016.