The book accompanies an exhibition of the same name currently taking place at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London – on until 27 October 2012.
Its chapters move chronologically through twenty years of the Pop movement, from “Rock’n'Roll” in the mid fifties to “Punk” in the seventies. It encompasses Mod, the Swinging Sixties, Psychedelia, Op art, Hippy & Glam – and as the book’s title suggests, weaves its way through fashion, art, music, technology, graphic design and interior design & decoration.
In 1957, British artist & early Pop exponent, Richard Hamilton described Pop as thus:
- Popular (designed for a mass audience)
- Transient (short-term solution)
- Expendable (easily forgotten)
- Low cost
- Mass produced
- Young (aimed at youth)
- Big business
All the big names in Pop culture are name checked: Elvis, Cliff, Roxy Music; Warhol, Lichtenstein; Peter Blake, Martin Sharp; Mary Quant, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Biba – to name but a few!
The book investigates Anglo-American Pop, making fleeting mentions of a couple of Japanese designs. We wondered why the book wasn’t more international in its coverage, but onward reading brought us to realise that there was a good explanation for this. It wasn’t due to neglect! As Marco Livingstone wrote in his 1990 book, “Pop Art: A Continuing History”:
“Pop was destined to remain essentially a movement of the English speaking world and even more specifically of the United States and Britain… by definition, Pop could only flourish in a highly industrialised capitalist society…”
Many of the images included in the book, such as Andy Warhol’s banana album cover artwork for the Velvet Underground, are already well known to followers of the Pop movement. But with full colour illustrations on almost every one of the 272 pages, there are many we’d not seen before.
It’s far from being mere eye candy though. This is a hugely well-researched book – there’s a comprehensive introduction followed by extensive side notes accompanying the photographs… and if it makes you want to delve even deeper, the book supplies a comprehensive list of further reading sources.
A fabulous read – we can highly recommend it!
[Many thanks to the Antique Collectors Club for the review copy]