Published by Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at University of Greenwich, London

Pop Art Design at the Barbican

Pop Art at the Barbican

Art and Design brought to the masses? Aaron Carpenter reviews the latest exhibition on Pop Art Design at the Barbican. 

The Barbican always puts on a great exhibition in London. The Rain Room was one of the must see exhibitions of 2013, with constant queues and a long wait! in the curve, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot exhibition of guitar playing Zebra finches was one of the most memorable exhibitions I have ever experienced. The Barbican’s Pop Art exhibition sets out to explore and highlight 50 years of the revolutionary movement of Pop Art, showcasing key pieces.

Pop art exhibitions don’t really excite me anymore, them seem worn out and done to death. They always seem to underline how Pop Art is “arguably the most influential art movement” of the twentieth century (Barbican gallery guide). In fact if you have a Pop Art book to hand have a quick look as this statement will appear within the first paragraph guaranteed. This statement Pop Art is “arguably the most influential art movement” of the twentieth century, is actually given meaning within this exhibition describing all the fundamental social transformation that occurred during the post-war period, as a result of USA’s political and economic dominance drove prosperity and the new era of consumerism.

This exhibition although exhibited the cliché icons of Pop Art, such as Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, who undoubtedly are massively important in shaping modern art, however are examples force fed to all budding secondary school artists. This exhibition also nevertheless covered every day examples of Pop Art and how it really influenced society on a daily basis, with album artwork, photography, sexy advertising and house hold packaging. Art was no longer an elitist pursuit but was “placed on a level with everyday culture” (Gallery Guide).

If like me you have become a cynic of the term Pop Art and Pop Culture, the exhibition at the Barbican will help break down that view and remind you that Pop Art is an everyday experience that despite its icons with untouchable and astronomically priced pieces, is one art culture that is still accessible to everyone.

The exhibition runs from 22 October 2013 to 9 February 2014.


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