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Pop to Popism

Sydney Australia is currently host to some of the most valuable, privately owned Warhol artworks in the world, you need to see them.

We were lucky enough to be among some of the first to lay eyes on the most expansive survey of pop art Australia has ever seen – over 20 works by more than 70 artists, among them canvases so large, long and significant, our spines are still tingling.

And the Warhol, so much Warhol. Hosted by The Art Gallery of NSW, Pop to Popism is the fifth exhibition in the institution’s Sydney International Art Series.

“Pop art was a global phenomenon that played a decisive role in the development of contemporary art. For the first time, Australian pop artists are represented here alongside their peers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe,” said Michael Brand, Director of the Art Gallery of NSW.

Roy Lichtenstein_In the Car_1963

In The Car by Roy Lichtenstein

Curated by Wayne Tunnicliffe, the art expert divulged the great lengths endured to gather, in one large, pristine space, a showcase that will never again be seen in Australia. For some of these pieces, in particular “Marilyn” by Warhol, this exhibition marks their last tour Down Under. Some over 50 years young, they’re delicate remnants of one of the most exciting, liberating art movements of our time, some with a price tag of up to $60million and many privately owned – as we said, spine tingling.

“While many of these artworks were a case of strategic meetings and existing relationships with the likes of The Andy Warhol Museum and Museum of Modern Art and Tate, there’s always several that are a case of pure serendipity,” explained Wayne.

For example, shortly before the exhibition was due to show, Wayne found himself chatting Pop to Popism with a woman he met just that night at a local dinner party.

Andy Warhol_Campbell's Soup Suite 1_1968

Campbell’s Soup Suite 1 by Andy Warhol

“How’s it going?” she asked.

“It’s going well but I still don’t have Marilyn,” he sighed, referring to the 10-piece art work that is perhaps one of Warhol’s most defining moments, that long with ‘Elvis’ – who is also on show.

“She said ‘I know the woman who owns that piece! I’ll put you in touch with her,’” and that she did, and now ‘she’ sits in the heart of Sydney, Australia.

The work of Warhol joins the likes of Lichtenstein, Koons, Haring and Hockney in a grand celebration of the radical Sixties-bred colour-wave that brought mass entertainment (Elvis, Mickey Mouse) and consumerism (Campbell’s Soup tin) to the forefront, works mimicking the look and feel of mass-produced items. Some read the movement as a celebration of popular culture, while others see it as critical commentary on how consumerism and mass media were reshaping the American way of life.

Martin Sharp_Mister Tambourine Man_1967

Mister Tambourine Man by Martin Sharp

What do you think?

Pop to Popism is showing at The Gallery of NSW until March 1st 2015

Andy Warhol_Triple Elvis_1963

Triple Elvis by Andy Warhol

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