Sydney will be the art capital of Australia over the summer months with two blockbuster exhibitions, Pop to popism at The Art Gallery of New South Wales, opposite the Domain and Chuck Close, one of America’s foremost portraitists, at the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay. Both are exclusively on display in Sydney as part of the 2014-15 Sydney International Art Series.
Pop to popism, the most comprehensive collection of pop art ever to be seen in Australia, is currently showing at The Art Gallery of New South Wales, until 1 March 2015. Featuring 200 works by more than 70 of pop’s greatest artists, Pop to popism traces pop from its origins through to its heyday and its enduring legacy, both in Australia and internationally. Spanning three decades, from the mid 1950s to the 1980s, many of the art works have never been exhibited in Australia before.
The exhibition, which has taken over an entire floor, is one of the most ambitious undertaken by the Gallery. For the very first time, Australian pop artists are presented alongside their international peers from America, Britain and Europe.
Featured artists include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Jeff Koons, Brett Whiteley, Richard Hamilton, Martin Sharp, Gilbert and George, Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler, Ed Ruscha, Peter Blake, Richard Larter, Niki de Saint Phalle and Maria Kozic.
Works of art are on loan from 49 institutions and private collections worldwide, including the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Museum of Modern Art and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; the Menil Collection, Houston; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the JW Power Collection, Sydney.
Art Gallery of NSW head curator of Australian art, Wayne Tunnicliffe, developed this exhibition over the last two years. “Pop art changed culture forever and yet no pop survey exhibition has included Australian artists, Pop to popism grew from a desire to see our artists exhibited in an international context”, said Wayne.
An array of public programs is scheduled throughout the summer to further enhance the pop experience, including short talks on Australian pop artists, the largest film series ever screened by the Gallery and lectures by international art experts. One exciting feature, especially for children, is POP PLAY, a creative family space with interactive artmaking activities.
Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration, on display at the MCA until 15 March 2015, is the most expansive showing of his works ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere and reveals the artist’s range across a breadth of techniques.
One of America’s best-loved visual artists, Chuck Close is famous for his lifelike portraits of recognisable faces, mainly in the art world, such as Roy Lichtenstein, plus his large scale, photo based portrait paintings, he is also an accomplished printmaker and photographer.
Amongst the range of portraits on display are the almost six foot high heads of Bob Israel and a Jacquard tapestry of Lou Reed.
Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond