This exhibit is like “a walk down memory lane,” said one of the International Pop exhibition curators the morning of the press preview for the grand opening on the east coast.

Located on the first floor of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, International Pop made its debut on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016. The Geek Initiative had the privilege to preview the exhibition days before the opening to learn more about the artists, the work, and the culture.

International Pop Exhibition

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “International Pop navigates a fast-paced world packed with bold and thought-provoking imagery, revealing a vibrant period shaped by social, political, and cultural changes. The exhibition chronicles Pop art’s emergence as an international movement, migrating from the UK and the US to [W]estern and [E]astern Europe, Latin America, and Japan. Although Pop arose in distinct forms within each region, artists expressed a shared interest in mass media, consumerism, and figuration.”

Majority of the collection pieces in this exhibit range from 1965 to 1972 that feature over 150 displays of art created by 80+ artists that range across 16 countries. Some of the artists are still working today and will be making appearances at the museum for special lectures.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the exhibition’s only East Coast venue.

[Click gallery images to enlarge]

Exhibition Features

When attending the press event for the exhibition, I was awarded the privilege to take photos all of the works on display. The top pieces of work on display include “Ice Cream” (Evelyn Axell, 1964); “Two Little Indians” (Shinjiro Okamoto, 1964); “Colchon” (Marta Minujin, 1943); “War Is Over!” (Yoko Ono and John Lennon, 1969); “Central de Transimissao” (Claudio Tozzi, 1969); “Oiran” (Ushio Shinohara, 1968 (my personal favorite)); “Frigo Duchamp” (Jean Tinguely, 1961); “Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas” (Edward Rusha, 1963); and “20th/21th-Century Tribute (Antonio Henrique Amaral, 1967). There are many more to list, but these pieces are ones to be on the look out for with powerful stories and influences behind them.

“A musical companion to the exhibition, this playlist by musician Ben Vaughn features an eclectic mix of songs by the Beatles, the Velvet Underground, Nina Simone, Serge Gainsbourg, and others. Enjoy the sounds and share the playlist with your friends.
“A free Spotify account is required to access this playlist.”

When a Facebook Notification Pop’d Out of Nowhere

A few weeks ago, the museum publicly announced they had received a Facebook message regarding an inappropriate photo in terms of “containing excessive amounts of skin or suggestive content.” Well, Evelyne Axell’s painting is exactly that! The “face” of International Pop (“I-Pop” for short) is titled “Ice Cream” and Axell is one of the few talented female artists to be on display.

When I first saw this painting, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. I didn’t necessarily think it was suggestive, but once we spoke with the curator – the meaning completely made sense, and so did the Pop Movement. Personally, my favorite style of art is impressionism (my favorite artists being Vincent Van Gogh and Tim Burton).

Final Thoughts

Pop is a genre that I’ve completely underestimated and the roots of influence that inspired all the works, both in and out of museum premises. “Ohmigawd, Andy Warhol!” He was one of the most influential artists, but little did I know how much of a global phenomenon it was…is. Pop art is what mass media, advertising, and popular culture was recreated and represented as through the eyes of the beholder during post-war of social and political cultures. The eleven sections of the exhibition tell one cohesive story in how even though styles and variations of pop art existed, remained one in the same.

Philadelphia Museum of Art “International Pop Trailer” from The Drawing Room on Vimeo.

More Information

Organized by the Walker Art Center.
Sponsored by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Major support for the exhibition is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Prospect Creek Foundation, the Terra Foundation for American Art, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Margaret and Angus Wurtele Family Foundation. Additional support is generously provided by Judy Dayton, Lyn De Logi, Marge and Irv Weiser, and Audrey and Zygi Wilf.

In Philadelphia, the exhibition is supported by the Estate of Phyllis T. Ballinger, the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and the Japan-United States Friendship Commission. Additional generous donors include John Alchin and Hal Marryatt, Mitchell L. and Hilarie L. Morgan, Isabel and Agustín Coppel, Jaimie and David Field, Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman, and Lyn M. Ross.

Corporate support generously provided by RBC Wealth Management. The Museum gratefully recognizes exhibition media partner Time Out.


Erica F. Battle, The John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art.

Location – Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor.

Disclosure: I received a press pass to attend this exhibition.

All photos were taken by the contributing writer.