Rome Nov. 29 - On Wednesday afternoon, the doors of Scuderie del Quirinale opened into a world of images, colors and sometimes even irony, emphasizing the return of Pop Art to the Eternal City.
Once inside, Martial Raysse's "Proposition to escape: Heart Garden" served as an appropriate introduction to this wild epoch.
What is Pop Art anyway?
It is not like popping a pill and calling it art, although some artists might have thought of that. Pop derives from the word 'popular'. The word refers to cultural manifestations that became, in the 1950s, the primary inspiration of a group of English artists. These artists are considered the forerunners of the Pop Art wave.
The most controversial and arguably best-known artist of that movement, Andy Warhol, described it simply. "Pop is loving things," he said. A guide at the Quirinale exhibit described it differently. ""Pop art is historical, cultural, common knowledge.It is a characterization of the generation of the '60s. The fashion comes and goes, however, always comes back," he told The Matthew Online.
In the 1950s and 60s, artist made a significant turn. Random everyday objects were put in the spotlight. Household appliances, famous people and the typical American products such as Coca-Cola cans were transformed into art. In Italy, the focus of brands as art was significant too. Tano Festa, a very important Italian figure of the Pop Art movement, once said: "For an Italian artist the Sistine Chapel is what is popular, it is the true 'made in Italy' brand".
The exhibition offers the opportunity to witness the period when a consumer society triumphed as art.
Pop Art has been criticized as a product of mockery. "Dejeuner sur l'Herbe" by Alain Jacquet can be seen almost as an insult to Manet; and, Enrico Baj's "Adam and Eve" turns a classic Bible story into a child's rebuke.
The question is: Is Pop Art a mere mockery or a source of inspiration?
Take a look for yourself. The exhibition continues until January 27.