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Largest-Ever Exhibition of Pop Art from the Gallery’s Collection, Sweet Dreams Baby! Life of Pop, London to Warhol, Opens May 31

March 28, 2013

Buffalo, NY – Sweet Dreams Baby! Life of Pop, London to Warhol is the first comprehensive survey of the Gallery’s expansive holdings by this important group of artists. Exploring the trajectory from Abstract Expressionism to Pop art’s explosive, colorful, and witty portrayals of the modern world, the exhibition will feature many iconic works acquired by the Gallery at the height of the movement, between 1962 and 1965. Organized by Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes, Life of Pop will feature more than 50 works in all media and will be accompanied by a collectible booklet featuring an essay by Hughes and select images from the exhibition.

Beginning with works by artists Richard Hamilton, John McHale, and Eduardo Paolozzi, who are associated with the British Independent Group—an assembly of artists, architects, and writers who were fascinated by the impact of the American mass media on British life, and whose work serves as a 1950s precursor to the Pop art movement—Life of Pop will also highlight transitional works by the painters Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, who incorporated elements of everyday life into their more gestural, painterly approach and paved the way for Pop art’s reconceptualization of ephemeral objects and recognizable symbols. 

Pop art’s pioneers—who drew on familiar, often iconic symbols from the mass media and other increasingly commercial aspects of American society—included Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann, all of whom are represented in the Gallery’s expansive collection of work from the period and will be featured in Life of Pop. The exhibition will also include some rarely seen works from the Gallery’s holdings, including significant print portfolios and major paintings by Pop art underdog Nicholas Krushenick, and the re-debut of Marisol’s The Generals, 1961–62, with its audio component fully restored.

Speaking about the exhibition, Hughes commented, “Life of Pop traces an arc from the 1950s to the mid-1960s, when there was a massive shift from Abstract Expressionism to work that began to reference and incorporate the symbols of an exploding consumer and commercial culture, ultimately giving rise to Pop art. It explores the themes, influences, techniques, trends, and legacy of one of the most enduring art movements of the twentieth century.” 

Sweet Dreams Baby! Life of Pop, London to Warhol will remain on view until September 8. 

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