Thyssen-Bornemisza museum

“Myths Of Pop” For The Summer In Madrid

Saida Santana

Madrid's Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum brings to Spain the first pop art retrospective in more than 20 years. Pop Art Myths features more than 100 pieces from American and European collections.


Summer comes alive in Madrid with Pop Art Myths at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, on view from 10 June to 14 September 2014. After more than 20 years since the Reina Sofía Museum dedicated an exhibition to this art movement, there will be a pop revival in the Spanish capital. In the hot summer days, nothing could be cooler than spending an afternoon with of one of the most beloved art movements of the late 20th century.

Pop Art Myths
DAVID HOCKNEY. Self-Portrait with Blue Guitar, 1977.

Pop Art Myths is different from the acclaimed 1992 Reina Sofia show. On this occasion, Paloma Alarcó, Head of Conservation of the Modern Art Museum of Madrid, takes a look at pop art from the 21st century. The curator tries to find a common ground and explore the idea of a kind of international pop, from its British predecessor, through a classic American phase to finish with international expansion.

Alarcó summoned a grouping of emblematic pieces to guide us through a “review of the myths that have traditionally defined pop art in order to demonstrate that its mythic images, in their sneaky and misleading superficial banality, hide an ironic and devastating perception of reality, the code that still informs the art of our time.

Pop Art Myths
MIMMO ROTELLA. Cleopatra, 1963.

In short, judgment and merit have demonstrated that the work of artists such as Warhol, Rauschenberg, Wesselmann, Lichtenstein, Hockney and Hamilton, among others, contains a “code” that makes it quite relevant in the 21st century.

The exhibition at the Thyssen is a collaboration of Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and more than 50 museums and private collections around the world such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Tate Modern in London, the Valencian Institute of Modern Art and the prestigious Mughrabi collection in New York.

Pop Art Myths
[L] ANDY WARHOL. Big Torn Campbell’s Soup Can (Black Bean), 1962. [R] RAY JOHNSON. James Dean (Lucky Strike), 1957.

Explosive, colorful and transgressor, pop art echoed, poetically, the ideals of change and liberation and fed the cultural engines of the decade of 1950-60. It broke the boundaries between high and low culture and laughed at the lines that separated the artistic from the profane. From the perspective of this generation, every image was recyclable and every object, a work of art.

The exhibition carries through several galleries at the Thyssen and is thematically organized. Portraits, still lifes, landscapes and historic paintings from American and British pop artists share the stage with works by Spanish, French, Italian and German creators who followed a similar approach.

© | 2019