JULIET KINCHIN: What we're looking at is a real explosion in print media: Posters and print multiples literally plastering walls with this new kind of youth-focused expendable art.
LAURA HOPTMAN: One of the sub-themes of the entire floor is, of course, this incursion of commercial culture into contemporary art. The short story is a story of Pop Art, but a longer, richer story is the notion of Pop Art as popular culture.
JULIET KINCHIN: And Pop Art which is being replicated in such huge quantities and which is engaging with television and with the music industry. So this is the year, of course, of the Summer of Love, of the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt. Pepper's, and Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit.” It's part of a whole scene developing in San Francisco and New York, London, and involving new ways of packaging, visualizing, disseminating this whole culture.
LAURA HOPTMAN: And it has a lot to do with the Civil Rights Movement, of course, but also with the youth movement—
JULIET KINCHIN: and the underlying looming Vietnam War—
LAURA HOPTMAN: —of course, the war. Right.
LAURA HOPTMAN: I wanted to ask about what the posters are made of—am I wrong in saying that fluorescent paints went into distribution in the mid-1960s?
JULIET KINCHIN: You're absolutely right, and they're experimenting with these DayGlo kind of color washes and printing, and using colored foil and reflective surfaces so that it really is this explosion of often quite acidic and luminous colors. And of course, plastic is a great agent as well as paper of embedding those colors. And I think that echoes the new furniture and new materials. These are designers exploiting and perfectly at ease with these new plastics, the new polyurethane foams, which are enabling this new sculptural formatting of furniture forms and allowing these to be reproduced incredibly cheaply.