On July 8 in the library’s Stafford Room, SFMOMA Docent Avril Angevine presented “When Art Went Pop,” a program focused on the Pop Art Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. To call Angevine’s program a “lecture” does it a disservice, as it was as entertaining as it was informative (as all of her past presentations at the library have been).
Angevine showed a slide of a 1958 work by British artist Richard Hamilton displaying numerous advertising images of American goods still not available under post-war rationing. It prominently features a Tootsie Pop. This, she said, is where it is believed the term “pop art” originated.
She pointed out how the post-war consumerist culture provided fertile ground, particularly in the New York advertising world, for young commercial artists to develop. The transition from commercial art to “fine art” pioneered by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and others was soon joined by the superstar of the movement, Andy Warhol. His silk screen images of Campbell’s soup cans, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Chairman Mao, cow wallpaper and multitudes of other subjects were sensational and controversial.
Warhol died in 1987 at age 58. His legacy lived on in the work of other artists, such as Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud, and many, many others.
The next Art Docent program at the library will be August 12 at 6:30 pm, in partnership with the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco. It will feature the ceramic art of Annabeth Rosen. As always, the event will be free.