Current exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery and Gagosian Gallery are putting pop art firmly in the spotlight, but what does it look like through a post-colonial lens? Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures, a new book edited by Kobena Mercer, provides a much needed exploration of how pop art translates across cultures?
‘Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures is an incisive, critical intervention into the scene of history-making specific to accounts of modernism. This book and its companion volumes are part of that rare intellectual event which everyone committed to fuller understanding of the history of 20th-century artistic cultures will find indispensable...'
Okwui Enwezor. Dean of Academic Affairs, San Francisco Art Institute
Brought to you by Iniva and MIT Press Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures, the third volume in the Annotating Art's Histories series, explores how pop art translates across cultures and what pop art looks like through a post-colonial lens. The collection of essays edited by Kobena Mercer, cast new light on the aesthetics and politics of pop by bringing cross-cultural perspectives to focus on the shifting boundaries of ‘high' and ‘low' across different national and international contexts.
Artists have long challenged the discourse of officialdom by turning to dissident elements in vernacular cultures. Exploring practices that range from the recycling of consumerist leftovers in Chicano rasquachismo to the painterly pastiche of Hindu ‘photo-gods', innovative studies reveal how unexpected antagonisms in the social life of images have also questioned the categories of ‘folk', ‘nation' and ‘people' in the visual culture of modernity. The book raises many questions such as: ‘When Mao goes pop, should we view the results as avant-garde, anti-modern or post-modern?' ‘Who ‘owns' popular culture in South Africa or Brazil?' ‘Why is hybridity so closely associated with the carnivalesque and the grotesque?'
Featuring internationally renowned scholars and curators at the critical edge of current research in art history, visual culture, and the humanities, Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures is the third volume in the Annotating Art's Histories series. Newly-commissioned writings are presented alongside bibliographies, translations, and selected reprints of key texts. Building up a richer understanding of cultural difference as a dynamic feature of 20th-century art, this acclaimed series is essential reading for students, practitioners, and anyone curious about cross-cultural interaction in the visual arts. Other volumes in the series include Cosmopolitan Modernisms, Discrepant Abstractions which are now available and Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers which will be available in April 2008.
Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures includes essays by:
Holly Barnet-Sanchez (University of New Mexico)
Gavin Butt (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
Geeta Kapur (Writer and Curator, New Delhi)
Martina Köppel-Yang (Writer and Curator, Paris)
Kobena Mercer (Middlesex University)
Colin Richards (University of the Witwatersrand)
Sônia Salzstein (University of São Paulo)
Annotating Art's Histories series
Edited by Kobena Mercer
Co-published by Iniva and MIT Press, September 2007
£15.95 + P&P
Softcover with flaps, 232 pages, full colour, 34 images
Information and orders: firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)20 7729 9616, or via Iniva's online shop
Supported by the Getty Foundation and Arts Council England
Kobena Mercer is reader in Diaspora Studies in the Department of Visual Culture and Media at Middlesex University, London, and is an inaugural recipient of the 2006 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. He has taught at New York University and University of California at Santa Cruz and received fellowships from Cornell University and the New School University in New York. His first book, Welcome to the Jungle (1994) opened new lines of enquiry in art, film and photography; his monographs include James VanDerZee, Adrian Piper, Isaac Julien, Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Keith Piper; and his writings on art and identity are featured in several landmark anthologies, including Out There (1990), Visual Culture: The Reader (1999) and Theorising Diaspora (2003).
Iniva publications: Iniva's publishing programme has established an international reputation for its wide range of titles - including catalogues, artists' monographs, anthologies of art criticism - which promote diverse critical perspectives on modern and contemporary art and advance critical debate internationally. Other recent titles include: the Alien Nation exhibition catalogue, Changing States an anthology marking 10 years of Iniva and the award winning Shades of Black.
Iniva creates exhibitions, publications, multimedia, education and research projects designed to bring the work of artists from culturally-diverse backgrounds to the attention of the widest possible public. (ww.iniva.org). In 2007 Rivington Place, Iniva and Autograph ABP's new contemporary visual arts space will open in the heart of East London. Supported by the Arts Council England Lottery Capital 2 Programme, this will be the UK's first permanent home for culturally diverse visual arts and photography. Barclays Bank plc is the Rivington Place founding corporate partner, contributing £1million towards the development. This innovative partnership reflects Barclays history of supporting positive social change and making a real and lasting difference to the diverse communities in which it operates. (http://www.rivingtonplace.org/)
For review copies and press information contact: Josie Ballin email@example.com, +44 (0)20 7729 9616
Find out more
- Review by Jan Estep, Modern Painters, October 2007
'The book is rich with examples of the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts in meaning when Pop?s strategies occurred outside its breeding ground.?
- Pop Art Is...
This exhibition at the Gagosian marks the fiftieth anniversary of Richard Hamilton's definition of Pop Art
- Pop Art Portraits
The National Gallery exhibition is the first to explore the role and significance of portraiture within Pop Art
To buy this book
+44 (0)20 7729 9616