Anyone with a penchant for Pop Art would be wise to plan a visit to Pallant House Gallery in Chichester this spring, where a major new exhibition celebrating British Pop Art has just opened. POP! Art in a Changing Britain draws upon Pallant House's extensive collections — it holds one of the largest public collections of British Pop Art in the world — to explore the history and legacy of the movement within the UK, and to shed light on the changing social, cultural and political conditions that prompted artists to respond in increasingly dynamic, subversive and unconventional ways through their work in the mid-twentieth century.
The exhibition, which is Pallant House Gallery's largest to date, examines themes such as Man and Machine, Celebrity and Pleasure, and Series and Repetition, and presents a rare opportunity to see some of the most significant works of British Pop Art in the flesh, some of which are being exhibited publicly for the first time. To find out more about how the exhibition came together, we caught up with Pallant House Gallery Senior Curator Claudia Milburn...
How did the exhibition come about, and where did the idea come from?
Claudia Milburn: The exhibition is a celebration of Pallant House Gallery’s unrivalled collection of British Pop Art, one of the largest of its kind internationally. This extensive collection is greatly indebted to the generosity of the architect of the gallery’s modernist extension, Professor Sir Colin St John Wilson. He and his wife, fellow architect M.J. Long, amassed a truly remarkable personal collection during the 1950s and 60s, featuring many works by close friends and colleagues, and in 2006 gifted over 500 of these works to the gallery, alongside a substantial number of long-term loans which also feature in the exhibition. The exhibition offered the opportunity to showcase the British Pop Art collection in the galleries its collectors envisaged, to mark this groundbreaking period in British Art and reflect on its enduring relevance in the modern world.