For a fairly conservative art gallery, National Gallery of Canada is the only venue in North America featuring the most contemporary art exhibit ever, Pop Life: Art in a Material World. Everything you need to know about pop art from Andy Warhol to Young British Artists to Takashi Murakami is there. Pop Life explores the connections between art and the material world a.k.a marketing, mass media, and commerce.
If you’re a pop art fan or would like to be one, this special exhibition is certainly a place to visit. Personally, I really enjoyed the contemporary feel; it was nothing like the usual uptight atmosphere of an art gallery. A number of gallery rooms featured music, there were fun colours all over. I also enjoyed the fact that in addition to paintings, drawings and prints (the usual art stuff), there were sculptures, videos, installations, and fashion. I loved Takashi Murakami’s Louis Vuitton sneakers and the Kanye Bear, the recreation of New York’s Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, and Damien Hirst’s very stunning and shiny gold-plated steel and glass with cubic zirconium and diptych work called ‘Memories of/ Moments with you’. And, of course, the iconic Rabbit by Jeff Koons was on display at the
gallery and all over Ottawa (I found a big reproduction of the Rabbit in a box in ByWard Market!). Oh, do I have to mention Andy Warhol? Clearly a whole room was dedicated to Andy and his work. Since pop art has been controversial, couple of exhibit spaces feature very controversial art by Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami… think X rated. Overall, the exhibition was fun, educational, inspiring and stuck to contemporary art philosophy of making art for money very well.
Running from July 11th to September 19th you still have time to check it out, if a trip to Ottawa is in your future. FUN!