Aspects of Pop Art Opens at Galerie Gmurzynska

Galerie Gmurzynska’s comprehensive exhibition, Aspects of Pop Art, historically examines one of art histories most loved, consistently timely and influential movements. Surrounding a core of important works by the original masters of Pop Art, including Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann, are selections of pieces which acted as precedents and antecedents of the Pop ideology.

robert-indianaDisplayed in Galerie Gmurzynska’s Zurich gallery, on Paradeplatz, the grouping of works respond to one another, revealing facets of Pop Art that seemed to be previously hidden. A stunning Robert Delaunay watercolor from 1923, Le Baiser, shows an influential affinity with the forms and color of Tom Wesselmann and the more recent drawings of lush women in a candy land setting by Will Cotton.

The exhibition also highlights the tremendous impact that the exploration of collage in the first half of the twentieth century had on later artists operating in the Pop ideology. Works by Piotr Stepanovich Galadzhev, Paul Joostens and Kurt Schwitters exhibit the influence that these artists had in laying the ground work upon which much of Pop would be built. The use of text in collage brought the textual word back into art, directly showing an influence in the masterworks displayed by Robert Indiana and the rare drawing executed by the most important West Coast practitioner of Pop, Ed Ruscha. The impact of text merged with image in ways that changed the The knowledge of perspective in art, the important Jasper Johns print on display shows close affinities with practices. The exhibition also includes a body of collages by Anatol Brusilovsky, one of the most important Russian artists of the Soviet era. Working under the watchful eye of a regime Brusilovsky still managed to create groundbreaking works in the collage medium.

At the same time, the selection of rarely exhibited paintings of nudes by David Smith, executed during the birth of the Pop movement, underscores the importance of line in the works of Pop. Displayed near the steel cuts of Wesselman and the line drawing of Isabelle Adjani (1986) by Andy Warhol, the Smith paintings are close and influential relatives.

Coming of age in the art world at the time that Pop was becoming a movement, the work of Fernando Botero shares an ideological slant with the works of Pop artists. His works, executed in his distinct style, exhibit the humor and fun that Pop is known for without sacrificing any social critique. This aspect of humor is also clearly visible in the sculpture, La danseuse (1976) by Alexander Calder. Clearly making humor with itself, the sculpture is deeply related to the roots of Pop. This is also clear in the work of Karl Lagerfeld, who used the traditional iconography of Pop art to create portraits that poke fun at the depiction of emotion in these works.
The Pop Art of the 1960s was the most influential movement for younger artists who have created work during the past four decades. The exhibition includes a sample of works which show the more recent direction of this continuing influence. The work of Ronnie Cutrone, Andy Warhols studio assistant of the 1970s, helped define the Neo-Pop movement of the 1980s. His work takes the vocabulary of the Pop artists of a generation before him and twists it so that it can serve his needs.

The exhibition will also showcase a large selection of a more recent artist who is positioned to become his generations answer to Andy Warhol. Jani Leinonen’s work takes the viewers expectations of commercial products and by altering them revealing the tricks that marketing and social ordering has on the viewers’ everyday lives. Leinonen will be representing Finland at the 53rd Venice Biennale.

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