Art, fashion, graphic-, interior- and furniture design, architecture, toys, comics and film: Barbican’s new show has it all. From plenty of iconic pieces to less–known works, it beams you up to the fabulous world of bright colors, soft shapes, loungy chairs, fur, neon, plastic, fun and happiness. ‘Nough said, photos should do the rest. And when you go, don’t forget: exit through the gift shop. Have a brilliant Friday!
Giving special attention to objects of everyday use, the show accentuates the central role played by applied art and design during the Pop age. Commercial design, the language of advertising, comic illustrations, emerging technologies and new industrial materials were amongst the major sources of inspiration for Warhol, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg and other big names from the 50s, 60s and 70s. And vice–versa, designers picked whole lot of inspiration from their fine art colleagues, effectively blurring the line between the two fields.
There are plenty of good examples of this throughout the show, starting with the social and aesthetic foundations of Pop and explaining ways in which art and design reflected the social upheavals in the post–war period; then continuing through rich selection of thematic displays, including female fetish, robots and computers, celebrities and Hollywood, interior design and lightning, album covers etc. The upper floor focuses on pieces that played with scale and material: “soft” sculptures, shiny surfaces and other seductive designs attempted to form emotional attachment between the object and the consumer; and concluding with Pop gradually merging into Postmodernism.