Pop Art Portraits

Oedipus (Elvis Johnson #1) by Ray Johnson (1956-7) - © Estate of Ray Johnson at Richard L Feigen & Co

Oedipus (Elvis Johnson #1)
by Ray Johnson (1956-7)
© Estate of Ray Johnson at Richard L Feigen & Co



A groundbreaking exhibition Pop Art Portraits - the first to explore the role and significance of portraiture within one of the world's most popular and influential art movements. Conceived as a visual dialogue between American and British Pop Art, this exhibition brings together 52 key works by 28 Pop artists working on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1950s and 1960s. These include major portraits by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein alongside those of Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield.

The exhibition examines these artists' shared engagement with depicting the famous, using images taken from advertising, pop music, the cinema, magazines and newspapers. It also shows how Pop Art shattered the conventions of portraiture, creating a new genre of fantasy portraits using comic books, magazines and other images drawn from popular culture.

The exhibition explores Pop Art's complex and enormously creative engagement with portraiture and is divided into six sections: Precursors of Pop; Portraits and the Question of Style; Fantasy; Film; Marilyn; Innocence and Experience. The Marilyn section is one of the highlights of the exhibition, bringing together works by British and American Pop artists in the context of their shared obsession with images of Marilyn Monroe. Presented as a secular chapel to one of the late 20th Century's goddesses, the exhibition reunites several important works originally shown in the celebrated tribute exhibition, Homage to Marilyn Monroe, held at Sydney Janis Gallery, New York, in 1967. This section focuses on one of the principal themes of the show: the way Pop portraits transformed familiar images into works of art of great technical virtuosity, lasting originality, and enduring fascination.


Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart
23 February - 8 June 2008

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