Pop Unlimited

14 July 2017 – 7 January 2018

To accompany "The Great Graphic Boom," the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart presented selected works of American Pop Art in the "Pop Unlimited" exhibition in the Graphics Cabinet. In addition to major representatives such as Jim Dine, Mel Ramos and Andy Warhol, the exhibition also featured graphic works by pioneers such as Nicholas Krushenick, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. All of the works on paper are from the museum's own holdings and represent a cross-section of the development of the Pop Art movement that formed in America in the 1960s.

The trivial became the focus of artistic interest; motifs from everyday culture as well as the world of consumerism and commodities were given a new pictorial dignity. The subjectivity and emotional movement of Abstract Expressionism was countered by the Pop artists with an objective, conceptual system. Photomontage and silkscreen printing were among the most popular techniques of this art movement. Screen printing, in particular, enjoyed great popularity, as this photographic printing process made it possible to reproduce the original on the image carrier immediately, while at the same time guaranteeing production in an unlimited number of editions.

Beyond the realm of art, "pop" became the attitude to life of an entire generation: "Pop is love, because it accepts everything ... Pop is dropping the bomb. It is the American dream, optimistic, generous and naive ..." (Robert Indiana)

The exhibition was complemented by offset prints by Ad Reinhardt from the series "The Art Comics and Satires of Ad Reinhardt", created between 1946 and 1961. Reinhardt, a representative of color field painting and a pioneer of Minimal Art, viewed Pop Art critically, as it countered his ideas of an abstract, purist art. He condemned the return to representationalism and Andy Warhol's, in his eyes, excessive materialistic pleasure-seeking as the figurehead of the Pop movement. The emphasis on the seriality of production processes and pictorial structures in turn brought Reinhardt closer to the ideas of Pop Art.