26 March 2014
Andrew Perchuk, Deputy Director, The Getty Research Institute.
Co-presented with the Power Institute at the University of Sydney, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Pop art has in recent years been associated with the notion of de-skilling: the effort to eliminate artisanal competence and manual virtuosity from artistic production and aesthetic evaluation. This talk will instead argue that Pop artists were deeply invested in the acquisition and deployment of expertise, the scope and content of which varied with each artist’s background and location. The training that Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Ed Ruscha had in the techniques and processes of Madison Avenue helps explain how these artists intervened effectively in the image culture of the early information age. By contrast, most artists on the West Coast developed quite different types of expertise, often through a close connection with science and materials. From a very different class position than the bourgeois world of advertising, these artists engaged and interrogated the popular through such areas as car and surf culture, pyrotechnics, and barter economics. A focus on these competencies expands the definition of Pop beyond the manipulation of the image and allows for a discussion of the work of such artists as Judy Chicago, Billy Al Bengston, and Ed Kienholz under the rubric of Pop.
Andrew Perchuk is Deputy Director at the Getty Research Institute. He was formerly a curator at the Alternative Museum in New York, for which he organized exhibitions such as Maureen Connor: Discrete Objects (1995) and an installation on Malcolm X featuring the collective X-Prz (1993). He has held fellowships from the Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS and the Getty Research Institute. He is editor of three books: The Masculine Masquerade, with Helaine Posner (Cambridge, 1996); Allan Kaprow—Art as Life, with Eva Meyer-Hermann and Stephanie Rosenthal (Los Angeles, 2008); and Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular, with Rani Singh (Los Angeles, 2009). Perchuk is also a frequent contributor to journals publishing on contemporary art.
Centenary Auditorium, Art Gallery of NSW,
The Domain, Sydney
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