From the brilliantly mind-boggling works it holds to the bold typography which paints its walls, the Pop Masters exhibition is a metaphorical doorway into the fantastical realm of Pop art. One which is filled with balloon-like sculptures and portraits of Dolly Parton only envisage Alice in Wonderland but set in the art space, and an already vivid picture becomes even more so. This is, as quoted by the late artist Richard Hamilton, a “young, witty, sexy, gimmicky and glamourous world” both imagined and brought to life by the HOTA Gallery in Australia’s Gold Coast and open to the public until the 4th of June.
Introducing visitors to this sensationally electrifying space is a collection of over twenty works by Andy Warhol, from Sixteen Jackies (1964), Mao (1973), Dolly Parton (1985) to Together with Flowers (1964-65) and Cross (1982). After all, who better to do so than the artist who is regarded by many as not only establishing the Pop art space but as still having a significant influence on many of its artists up until the present day? This is a lasting message throughout the exhibition, which both celebrates the cultural impact of these trailblazers and turn to their enduring influences to chart the future.

Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York celebrates the history of Pop art, whilst examining its influence on art and artists today. “We wanted to explore the intersections in their lives, ideas and practices of this significant group of artists,” states Tracy Cooper-Lavery HOTA’s Director for Visual Arts. This is an aspiration, reflected in the gallery’s layout, “which sees these incredible artworks in dialogue with one another.”

Spanning 60 years of Pop art, with fifty of the works introduced to Australia for the first time, the showcase also boasts an arresting collection of works. Sourced from one of the world’s most esteemed art collectors Jose Mugrabi and by fifteen artists altogether such as; Tom Wesselmann, Kwesi Botchwey, George Condo, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Joel Mesler, Richard Prince, Tom Sacks and Julian Schnabel. All figures who have not only singularly contributed their own idiosyncratic perspectives to the Pop art scene, but collectively worked to turn it into an instrumental art movement.
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Andy Warhol Various 1.jpg
Interwoven throughout the space are also standout pieces, all undoubtedly worth seeing, from Kaw’s outlandishly larger-than-life, WHAT PARTY (2018) to Mickalene Thomas’s reflective I’ve Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good from the She Works Hard For the Money Pin Up series (2006), and from Katherine Bernhardt’s kaleidoscopic Giant Jungle Office (2017) to Damien Hirst’s They Were Down They Were Down (2007), which sees over 4,500 resin pharmaceutical pills placed in a mirrored cabinet. By displaying such works, Pop Masters seems to not only want to celebrate these figures but their outrageous approaches to art. From a 2.8-metre tall sculpture (WHAT PARTY) to thousands of resin pharmaceutical pills (They Were Down They Were Down), in this exhibition, the more ludicrous the better.

Reflecting on the intrinsic connection between Pop and street art, a series of pieces by Keith Haring, including one of his introductory works from 1979, and a large-scale piece which depicts his signatory dancing dogs Untitled (1981) are both displayed. So too are eight works envisaged by Jean Michel-Basquiat, one of the 20th century’s most lauded art figures, among them is his famous New York, New York (1981) painting and works from a collaborative project with Andy Warhol (1984-85).

Ultimately, Pop art is a continuously shifting landscape, which continually adapts itself to be reflective of the times in which we live. But in closing the exhibition with a blacked-out room, rendered both by a photograph taken by Michael Halsband of the fifteen artists posing together and a drawing of Andy Warhol’s from 1985 which has been turned into an NFT. Pop Masters, in turn, has shown itself to be an exhibition which not only immortalizes the enduring elements but charges these with an altogether contemporary meaning for today’s observer.
Pop Masters: Art From The Mugrabi Collection, New York is now on view until June 4th in HOTA Gallery, in Gold Coast (Australia).
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Basquiat Procession 1986.jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Andy Warhol Various 2.jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Basquiat Section.jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image George Condo Untitled Choo Choo Tracy Cooper Lavery and Bradley Vincent.jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Haring Untitled Dancing Dogs and George Condo Untitled Choo Choo.jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Katherine Bernhardt Giant Office Jungle Artwork .jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Kaws.jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibition Image Tracy Cooper Lavery and Bradley Vincent in the Space.jpg
Hota POP Masters Exhibtion Image Andy Warhol Flowers and Quote.jpg