From the perspective of our media-saturated age it is almost impossible to imagine how radical Pop Art appeared to those who encountered it for the first time. Emerging simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic, the movement contrasted dramatically with the staid drabness of post-war austerity and presaged the arrival of a revolutionary counterculture. Making ‘high’ art from ‘low’ subject matter and employing industrial production methods, this generation of artists toppled long-standing hierarchies and heralded the first truly postmodern movement.
The exhibition ‘POP ART: from Warhol to Panamarenko’, on show at S.M.A.K. Ghent captured the explosive exuberance of Pop. Featuring works from over 30 artists, this show underscores not only how far-reaching the language of Pop was but also the diversity of the work produced by those affiliated with the movement. Composed of pieces on long-term loan from the extensive Matthys-Colle and S.M.A.K. collections, this exhibition was not shaped by any one particular thematic or curatorial stance yet nevertheless succeeded in highlighting several important aspects that distinguish Pop.