“Pop Art Prints”
March 21 – Aug. 31
American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets N.W.
Graphic Arts galleries, second floor
In the 1950s and 1960s, pop art offered a stark contrast to abstract expressionism, then the dominant movement in American art. The distinction between high art and popular culture was assumed until artists like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and others of their generation challenged a whole range of assumptions about what fine art should be. When pop art emerged on the art scene, it was eagerly embraced by an enthusiastic audience. The artists became celebrities and demand for their work was high. One reason they turned to prints was to satisfy this demand. They favored commercial techniques such as screenprinting and lithography with which they could produce bright colors and impersonal, flat surfaces. As editioned multiples, prints were more widely available and affordable than unique works of art, and pop art imagery was readily reproduced in the popular press.
“Pop Art Prints” presents a selection of 37 prints from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection. The installation includes works from primarily the 1960s by Allan D’Arcangelo, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Johns, Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Mel Ramos, Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. The installation is part of a series that highlights objects from the museum’s collection that are rarely on public view. The prints on display were selected by Joann Moser, deputy chief curator.
Free Public Programs
Moser will conduct a tour of the exhibition Wednesday, April 9, at 6 p.m. During the run of the exhibition, “Pop-up Pop Art,” a hands-on craft activity inspired by Warhol and other pop artists will be offered as part of the museum’s monthly evening jazz series “Take 5!” in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard. Dates and additional information are available at americanart.si.edu/calendar/.
About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. The Renwick is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.