Claes Oldenburg, Soft Pay-Telephone, 1963, Vinyl filled with kapok, mounted on painted wood panel, 118.2 x 48.3 x 22.8 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Gift, Ruth and Philip Zierler in memory of their dear departed son, William S. Zierler, © Claes Oldenburg.

Roy Lichtenstein, Interior with Mirrored Wall, 1991, Oil and magna on canvas, 320.4 x 406.4 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York,© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.

In Celebration of Pop Art's Critique of Popular Culture

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, 1963, Oil, silkscreened ink, metal, and plastic on canvas, 208.3 x 121.9 x 15.9 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Purchased with funds contributed by Elaine and Werner Dannheisser and The Dannheisser Foundation, © Estate of Robert Rauschenberg/Licensed by VAGA, New York.


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
New York
Annex Level 5
Annex Level 7
Pop Objects and Icons
from the Guggenheim Collection

September 30, 2011-February 8, 2012

This fall the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents two focused exhibitions selected from the museum's permanent collection, one exploring Pop art and the other featuring 1960s monochrome works. The explosion of Pop art in America in the early 1960s signaled the return to representational images following the Abstract Expressionists of the preceding decades, who favored large gestural canvases and expressive colors.

Pop Objects and Icons from the Guggenheim Collection is on view on Annex Level 5 from September 30, 2011 through January 11, 2012, with an additional gallery on Annex Level 7 opening on November 19, 2011, on view through February 8, 2012. The exhibitions is curated by Megan Fontanella, Assistant Curator, Collections and Provenance, and Lauren Hinkson, Assistant Curator, Collections, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Pioneered in England in the late 1950s, the Pop art movement took hold in America after support from critics, including British critic Lawrence Alloway, who coined the term "Pop art" in 1958 and organized the seminal 1963 Guggenheim exhibition Six Painters and the Object. Encouraged by the economic vitality and consumerist culture of post-World War II America, artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol explored the image world of popular culture — from which the movement’s name derives — and took inspiration from advertisements, pulp magazines, billboards, movies, television, and comic strips. The cool detachment and harsh, impersonal look of Pop art signaled a direct assault on the hallowed traditions of "high art" and the personal gesture, so strongly championed by the previous generation of Abstract Expressionists. The images, presented with — and sometimes transformed by — humor, wit, and irony, may be read as both an unabashed celebration and a scathing critique of popular culture.

Pop Objects and Icons from the Guggenheim Collection features a focused group of works by nine artists, from forerunners of the movement such as Robert Rauschenberg, to early practitioners who continued to work in this vein throughout their careers, including Lichtenstein and Rosenquist. The paintings and sculptures on view examine various artists’ engagement with Pop art and the Guggenheim's ongoing interest in the legacy of the style.

Richard Hamilton, The Solomon R. Guggenheim (Spectrum), 1965-66, Fiberglass and cellulose, 121.9 x 121.9 x 20.3 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London.


Andy Warhol, Orange Disaster #5, 1963, Acrylic and silkscreen enamel on canvas, 269.2 x 207 cm, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Gift, Harry N. Abrams Family Collection, 1974, © 2011 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.