Lest you think my fascination with pop culture extends only as far as the green room, I thought I’d treat you to a taste of Valley venues featuring pop art of the visual variety.
The Heard Museum in Phoenix (there’s another location in Scottsdale) currently features four “changing exhibits,” including one titled “Pop! Popular Culture in American Indian Art.”
It’s described by the Heard as a collison of pop culture and innovation with traditional art forms and cultures.
Works include fashion, graffiti art, comics, pottery and beadwork–reflecting “contemporary issues and imagery in an often comedic, tongue-in-cheek way.”
The wonderful thing about most museums is that they feature multiple exhibits, so there’s often a little something (or a lot of somethings) for everyone in the family.
Other kid-friendly changing exhibitions currently at the Heard Museum include “Hopi Katsina Dolls: 1oo Years of Carving” and “Arctic Spirit: Inuit Art from the Albrecht Collection.”
Who doesn’t love dolls and animals?
There’s also the “Allan Houser: Tradition to Abstraction” exhibit featuring large sculptures, paintings, drawings and more by “one of the most important artists of the 20th century.”
Art critics could give you lots of reasons to check it out but I just think Houser’s work is cool.
It’s smooth, clean, tranquil. All the things I have a hard time finding at home some days.
If you have a chance, explore a bit of the museum’s “About the Exhibit” section on the “Pop!” portion of their website. You’ll enjoy a mini-tour through the origins and evolution of pop art–which blossomed during the ’60s, a “decade of social change in which questions of identity, civic roles and political authority were paramount.”
Your teens might think they’re the only ones who wrestle with such issues, but art is your living proof that we all share the questions of the ages. Exhibits such as these can encourage young people to make the creation and enjoyment of art a part of piecing together their own answers–or fashioning their own questions.
Check out the “music playlists” featured on the “Pop!” portion of the Heard Museum website.
“Pop!” curator Diana Pardue favors everything from the Rascals and Jimi Hendrix to Jefferson Airplane and Otis Redding.
Caesar Chaves, creative director and graphic designer for “Pop!,” says his mix includes everything from David Bowie to Petula Clark–end even added a Miley Cyrus tune for his daughter.
Senior exhibit designer and mannequin dresser for “Pop!,” Melissa Martinez, wins the contest for one name favorites–which include Elvis, Madonna, Nirvana, Aqua and Nelly. (And hey, how cool does that job sound?)
I’m feeling rather inspired to visit with one or more of my young adult children so I can challenge them to develop an apres-viewing playlist that reflects their impressions of the exhibit. No doubt at least one of them will open their set with “Pop Goes the Weasel!”
I’d have a harder time designing a playlist for “Jump to Japan: Discovering Culture Through Popular Art,” currently on exhibit at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa.
I’d simply default to searching for a live recording of a Bruce Springsteen concert in Japan and call it a day. Any child from preschool age up could run circles around me when it comes to breadth and depth of knowledge about anime (animation art), manga (comic art) and other popular art forms of Japan.
I suppose that means that I need to visit the exhibit myself just to broaden my own horizons–and to try and keep up. Just so you know, I’m waiting for cell phone technology out of any country that’ll allow me to do everything by voice. I’m so over typing text messages on those teensy little toy-like keypads.
In any event, these exhibits won’t last forever. So hop online to learn more about specific dates/times and costs. During recessionary times, you may not have the ability to shop until you drop. But never fear–I find that it’s equally satisfying to “pop until you drop!”
Note: If you really want to “click to look inside” the pop art books pictured here, you’ll have to visit www.amazon.com or another online book source. To learn more about pop art exhibits in the Valley, check out “Pop Art” by Niki D’Andrea in the July 24-30, 2010 issue of “Phoenix New Times.” Or click here to see an article about a Valley exhibit by an artist whose big brother battled schizophrenia.
Coming up: Fundraisers for Valley arts organizations (feel free to send your info to email@example.com)