Pop Goes the Humor
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Great Britain and developed through the 1960s in the United States. It challenged the traditions of fine art by including images derived from popular culture such as comic books, advertising, product labeling, logos, and television. Examples in this exhibition show that the concept of Pop art refers to the attitudes that led to its development more than to the artwork itself. Andy Warhol took Pop beyond an artistic style to a life style as he developed new approaches and techniques to art making. Humor in pop art is represented in a range of forms -- from caricature and cartoons to the more subtle, less obvious intellectual forms of satire and social commentary. It can be expressed through its subject and content simply as an awkward or silly facial gesture or implied by the style, attitude, technique, or the material. Humor can also be expressed through irreverence, surprise, or the unexpected; or the juxtaposition of objects or situations that appear incongruous.
George Segal's imprints were made by pressing "inked" models wearing T-shirts and blue jeans against large paper sheets to create figurative images while Robert Arneson bashes, smashes, contorts, and manipulates images of his face to create visual puns on art and the world, from nuclear war to an artist's formal dilemmas. Mel Ramos' Nude on Rhino reminds us of a colorful magazine or calendar advertisement while Red Grooms' lithographs playfully recreate Picasso in his studio or artists at the Cedar Bar. David Gilhooly creates ceramic sculptures of frogs in human or superhuman roles from Prince Arthur to Buddha, and Viola Frey casts found popular objects using somewhat crude, child-like techniques.
Through humorous and popular imagery, artists address the human experience -- providing comic relief, amusement, and to keep us from taking things too seriously.
This exhibition is organized by the Palm Springs Art Museum.