|POP Art's Fizz Stays Potent
|ART BUSINESS NEWS
Issue Date: ABN - March 07, Posted On: 3/13/2007
POP Art’s “Fizz” Stays Potent
New names in the world of Pop Art and their works will be an important draw at this month’s Artexpo New York, just as they have been since “The World’s Largest Fine and Popular Art Fair” in 1978.
Pop Art first emerged in England in the mid-1950s and appeared in the United States in the early 1960s. By 1978, art legends Andy Warhol, Peter Max and LeRoy Neiman were forces in the Pop Art world and important draws at Artexpo New York. Warhol became the first American superstar artist of Artexpo. He soon would be followed by Pop Art icons Peter Max, who gained fame for his psychedelic paintings, and later Leroy Neiman, now known for his striking and energetic Pop paintings of sporting events.
The bold, colorful and often humorous presentation of familiar subjects continues to attract collectors to the genre. Art Business News recently caught up with some of the high-energy Pop artists who will be exhibiting at Artexpo New York to gain their perspectives on an art movement that remains a force to be reckoned with.
More than a Movement
Mark Gleberzon, a Toronto, Canada-based artist whose work includes Pop icons such as Coca-Cola® and the Empire State Building, and whose style is reminiscent of Warhol’s, no longer considers Pop Art to be a movement.
“I define Pop Art as one of the first truly American-originating art forms,” says Gleberzon. “I
The art of Mark Gleberzon includes Pop icons such as Coca-Cola® and the Empire State Building. Shown is his “NYC/05/12/05,” acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches.
don’t say art ‘movement’ because I believe Pop Art has never lost its luster. Pop Art evolved out of American pop-culture imagery, such as TV, cartoons, comics and advertising, and the art reflected these visuals in a new way.”
Today, the Pop Art style is applied to a myriad of subjects. Gleberzon’s chair portraits, for example, are among his most popular works. “I use the same chair in my paintings, and people continue to show interest in the series,” Gleberzon says. “And recently, I’ve been working on a series of paintings that split my canvas with imagery from American icons, including corporate logos and New York City architectural landmarks. I don’t follow trends, but I do try to see which series of works is better embraced, and then I keep it in mind for future shows. I also take note of which colors people seem to gravitate toward.”
In addition to Warhol, Gleberzon lists Peter Max and Roy Lichtenstein among his favorite Pop artists.
Amy Nelder, a San Francisco-based artist, agrees that Pop Art is much bigger than a movement.
Amy Nelder sees “endless possibilities” when it comes to Pop Art. Nelder’s newest release is “Coney Island Melody,” available as an original acrylic or giclée on canvas, both 48 x 48 inches, or on paper, 30 x 30 inches.
“There are endless possibilities for Pop artists and collectors to constantly reinterpret Pop images as fine art,” says Nelder, who paints bright, colorful cityscape images of San Francisco, New Orleans and New York.
The professionally trained opera singer who also has performed as a pop singer (Nelder once opened for Ray Charles) says when it comes to Pop Art, today’s artists should be grateful to the pioneers of Pop, such as Warhol, Lichtenstein and others.
“[They] made the world see that art and provocative images are everywhere,” Nelder says, “and because of that, artists are more confident now than ever before to bring their visions to viewers. The scrutiny of the everyday object is now the norm, creating a world that both challenges and welcomes the advances of the artist who attempts to come up with something new and exciting. A giant painting of a Campbell’s soup can, for example, is no longer shocking, but it still can be aesthetically provocative and transcendental for the viewer.”
Nelder continues: “I think the trick is for us to stay fresh and not rely on old ideas for our own work. Also, there is such a beautiful blending of movements today that it gets harder and harder to say, ‘that’s Pop’ or ‘that’s abstract.’ Pop is no longer just a single idea.”
Nelder credits the following artists for influencing her work: California artist Joan Brown (1938-1990); California sculptress Ruth Asawa; Mexican icons Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and his wife, artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954); and French artist Guy Buffet.
“I was the forensic sketch artist for the San Francisco Police Department,” Nelder explains, “and after working with more than a thousand victims and witnesses of violent crimes—primarily rape, robbery and homicide—I began to understand more viscerally what the people who love my art have always said about it—that it makes them happy; that it heals them.”
“Some months into the job, I began to despair—my method for getting a good sketch was to strain myself to feel what the victim felt, and it had begun to take its toll on me. For solace, I had nowhere to turn but my art. I developed a yearning to not only satisfy myself as an artist, but to also be healed by my art, and it worked. My greatest hope is that people will continue to share in the ebullience I try to create with every canvas.”
“An amazing part of the appeal for me is that Pop Art means so many different things to different people,” says Noah Greenspan, a New York City-based artist and physician. The artist side of Greenspan, a.k.a. “Noah G,” is pioneering popography—“a stylistic fusion of photographic technique with Pop expressionism.” Greenspan’s subjects include architectural icons such as the Empire State Building and Eiffel Tower; children and pets; the giant manta rays and great white sharks of the Pacific; and sports figures, entertainers and politicians.
Like other Pop artists, Greenspan says he’s been influenced by Warhol. Among today’s Pop artists, he considers Miami Beach-based Romero Britto—a regular exhibitor at Artexpo New York—to be “a genius of color coordination.” (For more on Britto’s newest art book, “Colors Around The World,” see page 10 of the November issue.)
Noah Greenspan, a.k.a. “Noah G,” blends photographic technique with Pop expressionism Shown above is “Noah G’s”
“Ladea Liberty,” photographic giclée on canvas, 40 x 40 inches.
As for his own work, Greenspan’s areas of expertise afford him creative freedom. “Being both a photographer and a digital artist, I have a great deal of latitude and flexibility in creating work for my clients. I always look forward to the challenge of creating a magical experience for people.”
The Pop Art of Nathan Janes is known by many as “Pop ARF” due to its subject matter—dogs—which he loves to “portray in uncommon ways with messages that sometimes go deeper than what may be expected from dog art.”
One such painting is “Rosie,” an image of a bulldog “wearing” a rose and toting a suitcase decorated with political-action decals. “‘Rosie’ communicates tolerance, respect and care for both the human race and animals as well,” says the artist, a Port Clinton, OH, native. “One of my missions is to [help make] dog art just as mainstream as the art of flowers, landscapes, people and wildlife. I strive to combat the popular perception that fine art can only be in certain styles or of certain subjects. I want people to view my art as a new ‘stretch.’ I want my art to be seen as pleasing images, which carry a deep message about humans’ interactions with the animals in their lives. Through my art, I also hope to inspire others to donate to local shelters and to consider pet adoption.”
The Pop Art (or Pop ARF) of Nathan Janes portrays dogs “in uncommon ways with messages that sometimes go deeper than what may be expected from dog art.” Shown is “Rosie,” acrylic/gouache on canvas, 30 x 40 inches.
Janes credits the following artists as influencers of his work: Pop icons Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring; dog artist Ron Burns; Belgian Pop artist “Bue”; and Jelene Morris.
Janes predicts that interest in Pop Art will remain strong, but the future lies in “Lowbrow/Pop Surrealism” art for collectors. “Before we know it, we will find ourselves surrounded by it,” Janes predicts.
Predicting Pop’s Future
Pop Art will always remain in style, says Gleberzon. Although color and subject matter change depending on fashion and other trends, Pop imagery will always remain, well, popular. “Americans love to buy “American,” and Pop Art is definitely an American art form,” Gleberzon says. “Plus, with so many art buyers in the U.S., and with so many museums and galleries showcasing old and new Pop Art in shows and exhibitions, there will always remain a strong marketplace. I also think that seasoned collectors feel that a Warhol or Lichtenstein, or something similar, is almost mandatory to have as part of their collections.”
Gleberzon continues: “Pop Art collectors also seem to fall into a wider age range, from pre- and post-baby boomer to the new crop of young collectors. And now with comic art, movie posters, ‘Disneyana’ and other mediums, Pop Art itself seems to come in all sorts of flavors to appeal to a wider audience.”
In terms of what’s next, Gleberzon believes “the artists’ own experimentations along with future technological developments will bring Pop Art into whatever new mediums artists will think of.” Perhaps along with photos, music and TV shows now available for downloading onto our iPods, he says, future Pop Art creations also could be offered for iPod downloading on what has become the modern-day “miniature and portable canvas.”
And, like any ambitious artist, “Noah G” cuts to the chase: “I’m seeing a lot of young, savvy collectors who will, I hope, become older collectors. And if I have any say in the matter, all of them will have a piece of Pop Art in their collections. My hope is that it will be mine.” ABN
• Mark Gleberzon, 416-923-4031, www.markgleberzon.com
• Noah Greenspan, 646-413-2366, www.noahgpop.com
• Nathan Janes, 419-341-0846, www.poparf.com
• Amy Nelder, 415-794-2988, www.amynelder.com
• Romero Britto, 305-866-5066, www.britto.com