Robert Rauschenberg, a master of pop art, said, “Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made – I try to act in the gap.” “Art” is the word that causes people to feel suddenly heavy and burdensome. However, as Rauschenberg says, art is not something difficult to connect with. It is all around us. Especially, pop-art is the climax of public art. It covers everything ―from posters to comic books. This winter, SMT reporters visited ‘Hi, POP’, an exhibition that looks at art that spreads out onto the streets.
Art: Off Walls and onto Streets
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, 'pop art' is defined as art in which common place objects are used as subject matter and are often physically incorporated in the work. It emerged in the 1960s and is still greatly influencing modern art today. Pop art is a field of art that is easy to understand without explanatory definitions. The easiest way to encounter pop art is to just look at the artwork in front of your eyes and feel pleasure and a little bit of nonsense. In the exhibition, visitors view 157 different pieces of artwork by various famous pop artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol. Fear the names? Once you see their works of art, you will no longer feel fear but a sense of familiarity with them.
The exhibition is being held at M Contemporary Art Center, which is located Exit 4 of Sinnonhyeon Station. To get to the exhibition, take subway Line 4 from Sookmyung Women's University Station and transfer to subway Line 9 at Dongjak Station. It will take approximately 40 minutes from station to station. For a more thorough explanation of art on display, visit the exhibition during their regularly scheduled docent tour times: 11:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, or borrow an audio guide from the help desk.
Walk onto the Street
'Hi, POP' exhibition is divided into five parts. Upon first entering the exhibition, visitors will step into the sections of Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. Above all others, Roy Lichtenstein’s artwork caught this SMT reporter's eye. Lichtenstein made use of Ben-Day dots, a technique in which fixed-sized dots are used to print photos on newspapers, which is used to exclude artist's personality. He used comic books to restructure layouts and present social messages. One of his masterpieces, 'Blam' is a good example. Several dramatic air battle scenes from DC comics are reinterpreted using the Ben-Day method. The work denounces war and its violence and America's wealth from military power by simplified scenes. His artwork also centers on feministic points, which also arouse the reporter's interest. Movements on women's rights gained great strength from the mid-1960s. Roy Lichtenstein was influenced by the trend of the times and was able to draw from a woman’s perspective. As a result, women in his artwork are shown with diverse facial expressions instead of the typical weak passive expressions of the past. For example, 'Happy Tears', one of the most famous pieces by Lichtenstein, reflects the stream of times.
In the third section, the works of Keith Haring are on display inside the backdrop of a common metro station. This unique interior setting highlights how Keith Haring attained his fame. Keith Haring used to draw the shapes of men on the walls of a metro station in New York. His artwork shows his interested in people, and people intrigued by that started to show interest in his work. Sitting on a bench and taking in the mood of each of Haring's artwork is an experience not easily to be forgotten. In particular, as a self-proclaimed homosexual himself, he made huge strides through his work on shedding light on the topic of homosexuality and other minorities. As Haring himself said, "I will draw as much as I can for as many people as I can for as long as I can.” His words carry through in his artwork, a message of peace and love.
LOVE and POP
Robert Indiana said, “My goal is that LOVE should cover the world.” This SMT reporter would alter his utterance to be: “’Hi, POP’s goal is that POP should cover your mind.” Art is not about grandeur. Art doesn’t have to contain complicated metaphors and symbols. The message, whether it be refined or simple, is the essence of the art―of course, it can also just be beautiful to look at. ‘Hi, POP’ exhibition will surely bridge the gap between your curiosity and awkwardness to art. Take the opportunity to visit!
|PLACE||M CONEMPORARY, Bongeunsa-ro 120, 1F, Gangnam-gu, Seoul|
|EXHIBITION PERIOD||From December 15 (2017) to April 15 (2018)|
|WHEN||11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (weekdays) |
10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (weekends)
|ADMISSION FEE||16,000 won (for adults) / 13,000 won (for students–including university students)|