SCOTTROTHKOPF: This work, in a way, was intended to speak to a very broad audience by using familiar figures like Michael Jackson, Buster Keaton, and the Pink Panther.
NARRATOR: Scott Rothkopf.
SR: At the same time it created a tremendous scandal in New York.
They were too sweet. They were too cute. They were too corny. The materials that they used were too vulgar. They were too shiny. They were made by people who made religious figurines and porcelains you would find in gift shops.
If the Pop artists had upset critics in the 1960s by dealing with images like Jackie Kennedy or cartoons, they had done so within a space of painting that was still easily seen as high art. Here this artist had gone one step further, to make sculptures that almost couldn’t be associated with what a contemporary sculpture was meant to look like because of their imagery and their materials.
It is surprising, in a way, that they could have seemed so controversial. When one reads the response to this show at that time, people were absolutely scandalized. They were disgusted. They were outraged. They thought this work represented a degradation of fine art into a realm of kitsch that they hadn’t seen or experienced in more than twenty years.