In 1955 the influential critic Clement Greenberg published the essay, “American-Type Painting,” hailing the anti-mimetic and monumental canvases of Abstract Expressionist artists as the most advanced form of painting then practiced. That same year, the twenty-five-year-old artist Jasper Johns painted an American flag, a familiar, iconic emblem. Rendered in wax encaustic and augmented with collage, the work’s tactile, painterly surface and allover compositional structure engaged the visual language of Abstract Expressionism while pointing in a new direction.
On to Pop features familiar objects and images we encounter in our daily lives. In addition to a flag, there are stockings, comics, and movie stars—in works by Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and others. Collectively these artists came to define American Pop art, a very different kind of “American-type” painting, which by the late 1960s had eclipsed Abstract Expressionism’s dominance on the New York scene.
The exhibition is organized by Anne Umland, Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture