1111ABOUT POP ART IN THE SONNABEND COLLECTION. From Johns and Rauschenberg to Warhol and Lichtenstein and to Koons
By means of a group of more than forty works from the Sonnabend Collection, the exhibition retraces the extraordinary decade of the 1960s, a time when the US had become the centre of the cultural and art world, endorsing a new way of conceiving a work of art that took on board the challenge of the emerging mass culture and new media.
It was, in fact, the US that gave birth to one of the most persistent movements in the twentieth-century imagination – Pop Art – irreverent and ironic, but also caustic and critical towards a new society that was already the slave of industry and consumption. A society intoxicated by the standardisation that was to take over the last few decades of the twentieth century and marked the prologue to the global society of our current day. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Rauschenberg and many other artists are presented through iconic examples of their work, such as Warhol’s Jackie Kennedy and Campbell’s Soup series, Lichtenstein’s beautiful Little Aloha, Rauschenberg’s celebrated Combine Painting and the legendary Number 8 by Jasper Johns.
The history of the Sonnabend Collection is one of the most fascinating of the twentieth century. When Michael and Ileana Sonnabend opened their gallery in Paris in November 1962, their intention was to present young American artists to the European public. The work of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg ushered in a new generation of artists, such as Warhol, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Rosenquist and Wesselmann, all shown in the Paris gallery. Their success was recognised at the 1964 Venice Biennale, where Rauschenberg was awarded first prize for painting. The masters of the Pop Art movement are presented in Mestre alongside their European contemporaries, among them Arman, Christo and Mario Schifano, and also with artists from the subsequent generation, such as Jeff Koons and Haim Steinbach, who revisited Pop Art with a conceptual approach.