A piece from Andy Warhol's "Ladies and Gentlemen," foreground, is on display in the exhibit "American POP!" at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport.
IF YOU GO
What: "American POP!"
When: Today through Sept. 8; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays; there is free admission for nonmembers from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays
Where: Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport
How much: $7 for adults, $6 for senior citizens (60 years and older) and students with an ID, $4 for those 3-12 years old
Information: 563-326-7804 or FiggeArtMuseum.org
Among the various colorful pieces in the gallery at the Figge Art Museum's new pop art exhibit are three large blueprints.
Most of us see blueprints as more practical than artistic, but these bear a second look when you see the locations depicted:
• Wayne Manor, the home of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, the alter egos, respectively, of Batman and Robin.
• The home of Mike and Carol Brady of Los Angeles, which housed their bunch of kids and a maid. (For the record, it has three bathrooms.)
• A plat of the "city" of Mayberry, N.C., where Sheriff Andy Taylor kept the peace.
Is it art? It's seen as that in "American POP!" opening this weekend at the Figge in downtown Davenport.
Curated by the CU Art Museum at the University of Colorado in Boulder, "American POP!" has its Andy Warhol representation (a pair of 1974 silkscreens from his "Ladies and Gentlemen" series), a pair of Roy Lichtensteins (including one of a pointing finger titled "Untitled (Finger Pointing)" and some works by Robert Rauschenberg, with three rather one in various styles.
But there's also a re-creation of a Brillo pad label; works by artist John Baeder, who has three portraits of classic old diners, and linocut artist Wayne Theibaud's delicious "Boston Cremes," which shows 10 desserts ready for the taking.
"Some of the art exhibited here is not traditionally seen as pop art," Figge associate curator Rima Girnius said.
The works, she added, are reactions to both the modern expressionist era and the consumer-driven culture that drove America after World War II.
"Pop artists really abandoned expressionist and embraced a more external environment," she said. "They tried to reverse the elitism of abstract expressionism."
The end of the war brought a continuous set of changes, she said.
"Life was completely transformed by the presence of ovens and washing machines and supermarkets that provided massive amounts of cheaply packaged foods," she said.
"Pop art was kind of a response to this consumer-driven society because they appropriated sort of simple, everyday materials and imagery that was taken from the mass media world," she added.
That includes seeing the homes of the Bradys, Batman and Barney Fife.
"The homes that we see on television seem nearer and dearer to us than the homes of our neighbors," Girnius said. "We know more about these fictional families than our neighbors."
"American POP!" she added, "sort of reflects a media-obsessed culture."