basquiat, ai wei wei and keith haring in new post pop show at the saatchi

Capitalists and Communists were equally seduced by the power of Pop Art, a new show at the Saatchi Gallery reveals.

by Stuart Brumfitt
26 November 2014, 12:09pm

Keith Haring, Elvis Presley, 1981

The 20th century's world superpowers may have been ideologically opposed, but an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London explores how artists from America, China, the Former Soviet Union and the UK were all equally seduced by the powerful appeal of Pop Art. In Post Pop: East Meets West, 250 works by 109 renowned artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ai Weiwei, Yinka Shonibare and Keith Haring will be split along six lines: Habitat; Advertising and Consumerism; Celebrity and Mass Media; Art History; Religion and Ideology; Sex and the Body.

Pop Art (which first emerged in Britain and the USA in the 1950s) exploits identifiable imagery from mass media and everyday life to reflect on the nature of the world we live in and this exhibition examines the relationship between western Pop Art and its lesser-known eastern counterparts including "Sots Art" in the Soviet Union and "Political-Pop" or "Cynical Realism", which has flourished in China since the turn of the 21st century.

The artists play with imagery from commercial advertising, propaganda posters, pictures of the famous as well as monetary and patriotic motifs. In the Soviet Union region these works draw attention to state control, conformity, ceremony, pomp and the façade of unanimity amongst the people; in America and the UK they serve as a critique of commodity fetishism, the cult of celebrity and our mass-produced, status-driven man-made world; and in China as commentary on the social dislocation created by a new super power's fascination with wealth and luxury following a period of extreme austerity.

Post Pop: East Meets West. 26 November 2014 - 23 February.

Pop Art
Saatchi gallery
East Meets West