Power Up. Female Pop Art

0000-00-00 00:00:00 by Angela Stief
Power Up. Female Pop Art by Angela Stief

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Angela Stief
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47

Book review

Despite the frequent mockery by Pop artists of the Abstract Expressionists' machismo and swagger, the best-known artists of the Pop era (as art history has defined it) were men. Power Up explores a generation of female artists working in the Pop art milieu, whose concerns offered a more overt critique of consumerism and gender issues than their male counterparts. The works of Evelyne Axell, Christa Dichgans, Rosalyn Drexler, Jann Haworth, Dorothy Iannone, Sister Corita Kent, Kiki Kogelnik, Marisol and Niki de Saint Phalle share with their male contemporaries a brashness of color, cartoonish figuration and consumerist imagery, but set aside the Duchampian strategies of irony found in Johns or Warhol, in favor of a more animated, life-embracing, combative zest, political critique and direct expressions of sexuality and lust. Before feminism had coalesced into a coherent movement, these women dismantled consumerist exploitation of female imagery, critiqued capitalism and celebrated their desires, working among (if not alongside) their male contemporaries, across media and continents. Today, their art seems more prescient and adventurous than ever. This volume casts fresh light on the artists of this generation, some of whom attained fame individually, while others were less well served by art history. Throwing down the gauntlet to the historians, Power Up tracks this neglected chapter of Pop art in a blaze of color and defiant sensuality.


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