Pop to popism shows off best alongside Australian contempories

Pop to popism shows off best of best alongside Australian contemporaries
- 21st O
ctober 2014


Art Creative Arts Pop Art Pop Culture Entertainment Art Gallery of NSW

"As good as it gets": Pop to Popism curator Wayne Tunnicliffe Photo: Brett Hemmings

For Wayne Tunnicliffe Monday at the Art Gallery of NSW was "like a curator's Christmas".

The gallery's head curator of Australian art has spent the past 2½ years working on the gallery's upcoming blockbuster Pop to Popism exhibition and is this week assisting with the installation of iconic works from Andy Warhol and Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons.

"What's coming out of these crates is as good as it gets," he said.

Popism exhibition curator Wayne Tunnicliffe and Andy Warhol museum courier Caitlin Gong inspect newly arrived artworks at Art Gallery Of NSW. Photo: Brett Hemmings

On Monday there was the Basquiat-Warhol collaboration from 1984-85 for which the former artist graffitied over a bright yellow work by the latter. And Tunnicliffe helped install the pair's Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper), from the same time, which features punching bags painted with images of Christ and covered with the word "judge". The bags hang in the shadow of one of Warhol's last self-portraits.

Warhol's Silver Liz– which shows a grinning Ms Taylor streaked with dark ink – is on loan from the Eyles family in London. "They had heard about the show and kindly contacted us to say they had a Silver Liz we're not hanging at the moment if you want it," says Tunnicliffe. "I said I've got a [Warhol] Triple Elvis – it will make a pair!"

(Those curious about the value of these big-name works should note there are expectations at an upcoming Sotheby's auction of a Triple Elvis and a Four Marlonswill to bring in a combined $US130 million.)

But it's not all about the famous Yanks. Among Pop to Popism's 200 works will be a number of Australian names, including Martin Sharp and Brett Whiteley. Tunnicliffe says it is important to include them, and hang their work alongside the big names of pop, "to show these artists in context, next to the people they knew and who they were working with".

Pop to Popism is at the Art Gallery of NSW from November 1 to March 1.

(The Sydney Morning Herald)