Posts Tagged ‘Tate Modern’

Pop Life: Tate Modern

October 9, 2009

Firstly, £11 (concession price) for an exhibition, quite a bit of money but willing to pay if theres a good varitey of work and alot to see and there was alot to see but I felt that some parts of the exhibition didn’t stand up to my previous expectations. Don’t get me wrong there was definitely some great work to see. The exhibition is all about the various ways the different artist’s that they show, have engaged with the mass media since the 1980’s and how they have created there own signature brand. 

Good points:

A mix of work from a number of leading and different designers/artists. I liked how they showed different aspects about the designers, for me this included Andy Warhol’s mix with celebrity’s, obsession with social interaction and the real extent of his involvement in being the actual face of many different advertisements and even his one-time guest appearance in the TV show Love Boat. Previously, involvement in mainstream popular culture was felt unfit for a serious artist. I hadn’t really known about this part of Andy Warhol’s career previously.

Some of the rooms gave a great atmosphere and had a great look to them. Like the re-make of the Pop shop. I loved the black and white patterning around the room and the music that was playing. The Pop Shop was created by New York artist Keith Haring and opened in 1986. He collaborated and became friends with Andy Warhol. Pop Shop was a fun boutique, where Haring’s work became accessible to everyone; clothing and gift items.



Personally I think that the Pop Shop in the tate exhibition, which was actually selling stuff, could have been a bit more interactive, with more products on offer.

There was alot of sexual content but the positive thing to this was that there were good explanations behind it all, which didn’t make it out of place, just interesting to read about. This included Jeff Koon’s work; Made in Heaven, where he actually photographed himself with a hungarian pornstar. The purpose of this work, I guess, was to gain wide recognition, which it successfully did and it swept him into tabloid fame. However, apart from this, the unusual part to this was that this sexual fantasy actually developed into a relationship and then into a marriage. I guess if you were just walking around looking at the images and a video (shock horror) that you would all think it was a bit strange but there is so much reasoning and interest lying behind the purpose of the work.

The identical twins for Damien Hirst’s work were there, which was exciting as I had never known that they were actually going to be there. They sit infront of two sets of his iconic spot paintings. I have watched the You tube video of the appeal for identical twins, which has helped me to understand more. Damien Hirst believes that twins are a crazy aboration, they are connected and make you look again. Sitting behind the twins are the two sets of spot images; random arrangements but the same dots, where from far away they look the same. I guess that both the twins and the art from a distant looks identical, from up close you start to see a few, maybe minor, differences.

The exhibition room for the rising stars in the New York art world in the 1990’s; Rob Pruitt and Jack Early, was another greatly designed room. It was covered in gold foil with some paint splashed onto it and with big wooden shapes showing different work. Again with music playing.

Below is a picture to show the shaping and style of part of the work in this particular room. The paint on the wood was much brighter however:


Plus there was definitely alot going on in the room displaying the work of Takashi Murakami. Something your never be ready for, a Japanese styled music film with Kirsten Dunst playing the lead role. This will definitely keep you entertained for a while. Murakami has worked with celebrities like Pharell Williams and Kayne West, designing jewellery and accessories.

Another artisit who some of his type work I really loved was the German artist Martin Kippenberger. I couldn’t find a picture of my favourite piece of his that I saw in the exhibition but it has definitely influenced me in his style of work and it is something that I still have in mind as inspiration for a part of my next Uni project. Below is another piece of work that I found on Google that I liked. The illustrative style of type, the different sizes and the different fills are all what appealed to me in this piece.


Bad points:

I thought there was going to alot more of Andy Warhol’s work, which I was previously excited about seeing.

There was a great mix of work but it all moved quite quickly, from artist to artist. It is hard to explain but I think it is best to say I didn’t feel that much of a flow through the exhibition.

I would have liked to have seen more of and a wider range of some of the artists work.

I loved the Pop Shop but I think that it could have been brought to life even more, with an even more enjoyable atmosphere and a bit more happening. I would have loved to have seen this shop when it was open.

There was only one piece of work by the artist Maurizo Cattelan, which didn’t really appeal to me. It was a stuffed, dead horse with a sign coming out from the middle of it. After finding out that the horse was actually real and going for a closer look you could still smell that animal type aroma coming from it, nice. I appreciate that Cattelan is part of a long tradition of artists who have made names for themselves by courting controversy but I would have liked to have known more about this actual piece; the ideas behind it and the reasoning. Maybe it is just confronting the theme of death and causing controversary but it isn’t really exciting and new. Maybe I would appreciate more the work if seeing it in a wider context and looking on the Internet I can see some more examples of work. Still not appealing to me that much but I will give it a chance by finding out more.

I think a good way to describe Maurizo Cattelan’s work, is where Damien Hirst said that theres alot of theatre in art,  you can clearly see this in Cattelan’s work. It is a personal theatre of the absurd. He provokes and challenges the limits of contemporary value systems through his use of both irony and humour. 

After the exhibition I read an awful review on the way home in the Metro. They gave it a sum up of 2 stars out of 5. They say how; “There are plenty of contenders for most depressing piece, but perhaps the prize should go to Murakami’s Hiropon, a wide-eyed girl in blue ponytails bursting out of her bikini top. Her huge nipples are spurting jets of curdling milk, which functions as a skipping rope.”

Personally I did think it was a bit weird but I mainly found it quite amusing and very unique.


The review then goes on to say;

“All these pieces make up an unweidly show- it’s too big, diffusing the focus of what is undoubtedly an interesting conceit.”

So as you can see not everyone loved the exhibition but atleast liked parts of it. I would say there was something about it that felt a bit disjointed but there is some good work to see, some unusual work to see and some great tales behind the work. I felt that I definitely learnt a think or to from the exhibition. It would be interesting to see what others thought..