Sun, 10/12/2014 – Sun, 01/25/2015

Fowler Gallery

While their own economy was still recovering from World War II, a group of young English artists grew fascinated with American consumerism. They incorporated images from popular culture using simple graphic designs. Also in the mid-1950s, Americans Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns began to use images from the mass-media in their own art. By the early 1960s, American Pop Art had fully emerged, in the work of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, and others.

Pop Art was radical. It shifted the focus of art from the personal, expressionistic, and elite to the commercial, matter-of-fact, and banal. Pop subjects came from many sources, such as comic books, signs, and ads—and often they were charged with political meaning.

Andy Warhol, icon of the Pop era, once explained, “I want to be a machine.” Printmaking was a natural medium for Pop artists, as prints can be produced both mechanically and as multiples. Challenging prevailing notions, they experimented with commercial techniques and helped elevate the status of printmaking in the art world.

Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection as well as the collections of regional colleges and universities, American Pop: The Prints featured work by some of the most recognizable names in Pop Art, including Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Mel Ramos, James Rosenquist, and Ed Ruscha. A highlight of the exhibition was the paper Souper Dress designed by Andy Warhol, acquired by the Museum.

Andy Warhol (design), Souper Dress,1960s, screenprint on cellulose dress. Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, purchased by General Acquisitions Fund, 2014


Featured image: Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997), Sweet Dreams, Baby!, 1965, serigraph on wove paper. Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, gift of Ralph S. Hughes, 1982 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein