With the Barbican hosting its finale, this comprehensive review of the relationship between Pop Art and design from Vitra Design Museum has just gone up a notch: its European tour finishing on a high with the addition of works from leading British institutions such as the V&A, Tate and many private collectors. These two hundred works are housed within a curvaceous set designed by AOC Architecture, immediately transporting visitors into the bold, brash and mischievously seductive world of Pop Art.

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Pop Art may often be disregarded as overindulgent, however this exhibition reveals its deeply historical nature – presenting its related art and design movements as symptoms of a much wider social transformation, and quickly dispelling any suggestion of triviality.  Artworks, furniture, sculpture, the printed media and even images of collectors’ homes expose the sheer impact of the movement upon 1950s-70s life, with even banal activities like tupperware parties notes as significant steps towards the acceptance of curvaceous plastic forms within the home.

The domestic sphere is key to the exhibition, and offering an utterly bizarre take on this is a gallery of photographs depicting the penthouse apartment of playboy Gunter Sachs. These futuristic images (think Austin Powers meets James Bond) are wildly surreal and uplifting, whilst also reminding of the essential functionality of the show’s design works – a much needed affirmation when the line between art and design becomes so blurred.

An extensive, informative and visually stimulating assortment of infamous, iconic and lesser known works, Pop Art Design could, one day, be remembered as a highly influential turning point for contemporary art and design movements alike.

Full review will be live on Aesthetica Blog in the next few days….


Pop Art Design

Barbican Centre

22 Oct ’13 – 9 Feb ’14



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