Underground Pop Exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum

This exhibition presents thirty-five works by ten artists who share a quirky and idiosyncratic take on the Pop tradition of appropriating popular culture in the service of art. At the same time they draw on the handcrafted, low-tech aesthetic of Folk Art. As a group they offer an alternative to the sleek packaging of global consumerism and corporate culture, providing instead distinctive personal visions of what it means to make art in the digital phase of the information age. Open August 15–October 3, 2010.

The artists in the exhibition—Scott Anderson, Brian Bress, Cole Case, James Gobel, Glenn Goldberg, Leia Jervert, Michael Lazarus, Nathan Mabry, Kristen Morgin, and Jeni Spota— explore their themes in a variety of materials and imagery, taking something of an almost eccentric approach to the traditional understanding of mainstream Pop. What links them, according to exhibition curator David Pagel, is “Do-it-yourself ingenuity, stubborn individualism, and stand-alone defiance. All of these artists infuse the ready accessibility of Pop Art with a strong dose of skepticism….The works in Underground Pop come somewhere between the homespun, homegrown, almost hokey earnestness of good old-fashioned Americana and the hands-off, post-industrial cool of American Pop.”

Although they don’t constitute a full-blown movement, the artists in Underground Pop celebrate the freedom represented by Pop at its best and the joy of amateurism, which is reflected in their funky, out-of-synch paintings, eccentric, hand-crafted sculptures, and inventive, low-tech videos. According to Pagel, “They go out of their way to leave room for loose ends and rough edges, for places and spaces where desire is not instantly gratified but satisfied more slowly, with viewers actively engaged with its hands-on manufacture, its piecemeal production, and its tentative, propositional unfinishedness.”

The presentation of Underground Pop and its accompanying programs are made possible, in part, with generous support from Dorothy Lichtenstein, C.A.L. Foundation, and Sandy and Stephen Perlbinder.

Curated by David Pagel, Adjunct Curator.

Image: Scott Anderson, Portage, 2008. Canvas mounted on board.
40 x 50 inches. Courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago/Berlin


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