On to Pop
Complementing the exhibition Abstract Expressionist New York at MoMA from October 3, 2010-April 25, 2011 was the installation On to Pop, which showcased a selection of Pop Art highlights from the Museum’s permanent collection.
In 1955, the influential critic Clement Greenberg published the essay “American-type painting,” which hailed the abstract, non-referential imagery and monumental scale of Abstract Expressionist canvases as the most advanced form of painting then practiced. That same year, the 25-year-old artist Jasper Johns painted an American flag. This familiar, iconic emblem belonged to the world of everyday things. Rendered in wax encaustic and augmented with collage, the work’s tactile, painterly surface and allover compositional structure engaged the visual language of Abstract Expressionism while it pointed in a new direction.
On to Pop, featured familiar objects and images we encounter in our daily lives. In addition to Johns’s Flag,
this installation included Claes Oldenburg’s Red Tights with Fragment 9,
Andy Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe,
and Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl.
Collectively these works helped to define American Pop Art, a very different kind of “American-type” painting, which by the late 1960s had eclipsed Abstract Expressionism’s dominance on the New York scene.
On to Pop, was organized by Anne Umland, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture.