When art movements die do artists go down too?
It’s a big privilege and an equally huge frustration to be named as a member of an art movement. That’s why I’m comfortable being called a Neo-Pop artist instead of just a pop artist. I’d love it more if the tag was New-Pop artist, but the two kind of mean the same thing if you take it that pop art had to die in order to be resurrected, which gives it a sort of religious plot to live by.
When did pop art die, really? Was it with the death of Warhol in 1987, with the death of Lichtenstein in 1997, or with the untimely death of Keith Haring in 1990? And did it really die?
It’s a bit like the ‘where were you’ game in which people try to remember where they were when mega important things happened — like assassinations, earthquakes, births or new years’ eves. Only the ‘death of pop art’ game is a kind of disturbing rumination that asks us to consider why an art movement cannot really survive its founders? And thereafter, everyone who takes their cue from that one form becomes an also-ran or a new arrival.
The pioneering spirit isn’t really something one associates with the pop art movement, probably because pop art has relied so heavily on what’s already there — like brands and celebrities. When Richard Hamilton did his first collage it was really to show people what they already knew, anyway.
The challenge is to how show people what they know, in brand new ways. I dream about this at night. It’s the one thing that reminds me how making Neo-pop is really so similar to being a film director. There are only a handful of plots, and we do magnificent and unpredictable things with a set cast of characters.