Sinister Pop presents an inventive take on the Museum’s rich and diverse holdings of Pop art from the movement’s inception in the early 1960s through its aftershocks a decade later. Although Pop art often calls to mind a celebration of postwar consumer culture, this exhibition focuses on Pop’s darker side, as it distorts and critiques the American dream. Themes of exaggerated consumption, film noir and the depiction of women in art, the dystopic American landscape, and the intersection of popular culture and politics, are explored through works by acknowledged masters such as Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol, as well as by many artists not traditionally associated with Pop whose art may be understood within its wider field of reference. These include William Eggleston, Peter Saul, Christina Ramberg, and Vija Celmins, among others.
The exhibition is the fourth in a two-year series which reassess the Whitney’s collection in anticipation of the Museum’s move downtown. Unfolding chronologically, these exhibitions explore overlooked developments in American art and reconsider iconic figures and works within new contexts.
Sinister Pop is organized by Donna De Salvo, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs, and Scott Rothkopf, Curator and Associate Director of Programs.
Ongoing support for the permanent collection and major support for Sinister Pop is provided by
Bank of America.
“With Pop’s popularity comes pressure on museums to make it new, to stop serving up the same old Coke bottles and Brillo boxes. The Whitney, which has substantial holdings of Pop Art, manages to do this in the sharp new collection show Sinister Pop.”
—The New York Times
“This is the Whitney at its best—a kind of tribute to both the institution and the era in which it matured.”
“The Dark Side: Sinister Pop Opens at the Whitney Museum”