Viscopy Licences Pop to Popism Exhibition


Banners hang from the Art Gallery of New South Wales featuring artworks licensed by Viscopy.
Pop to popism Banners hang from the Art Gallery of New South Wales featuring artworks licensed by Viscopy. © AGNSW

Viscopy worked closely with the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) to licence works from leading Australian pop artists together with some of the biggest names in pop art from around the world, for their current Pop to popism exhibition.

The exhibition features more than 200 works by 70 artists, exploring pop art – from its origins and heady high period through to its enduring legacy – both in Australia and across the world.

Art Gallery of New South Wales head curator of Australian art, Wayne Tunnicliffe, said the concept for the exhibition originally grew from the desire to exhibit more Australian pop artists within the context of their international peers.

“Pop art changed culture forever and yet no pop survey exhibition has included Australian artists,” he says.

Australian artworks for the exhibition were carefully researched and selected to represent the growth of the movement in the 1960s and again in its second wave, dubbed ‘popism’, in the 1980s.  AGNSW sourced some of the best-known pieces from some 52 lenders, including every major gallery in Australia and international galleries such as Tate, The Andy Warhol Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as a multitude of other museums, galleries and private collections.

Late Viscopy member Martin Sharp’s iconic artworks, such as Mister Tambourine Man (1967),were chosen from more than 200 works worldwide as key images to promote the exhibition. Viscopy worked closely with the Martin Sharp Estate to license his work for both the exhibition and its promotion, including merchandise, street flags, banners and advertising around Australia. Viscopy also worked to license other members’ work, including Australian artists Richard Larter, Vivienne Binns and Gareth Sansom and international artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Peter Blake. Viscopy and AGNSW, together with the artists and their estates, invested great care and attention to ensure the merchandise produced is high quality, befitting these significant artworks – many of which have never before been exhibited in Australia.

Read our tribute to Martin Sharp in our Annual Review for Visual Artists

Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, says the Pop to popism exhibition is the biggest, most comprehensive exhibition about pop art ever to be shown in the country.

“This is the first pop art show in Australia since 1984 and is the first time that Australian pop art is showcased alongside other famous artists from the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.

“It is a very important moment for this gallery, this city and the country to be doing such a serious, big, comprehensive show about pop art.

“One of the ways we help publicise Australian art outside Australia is by giving international partners access to this kind of information that they would otherwise not have. This [exhibition] highlights one of the great traditions of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, as a forum and platform for our own research and curatorial work and to help Australian art be discovered,” he says.

Pop to popism is part of the Sydney International Art Series and is exclusive to Sydney.

Find out more about the Pop to popism exhibition on now at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Top: Banners hang from the Art Gallery of New South Wales featuring pop artists licensed by Viscopy. Image courtesy AGNSW. © AGNSW

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