POP Austin presented its third annual international art show this past weekend at Fair Market. The exhibit showcased over 50 contemporary artists from around the world. While the art wasn’t as immersive as last year, each whimsical piece demanded a second look. Here is my personal journey through the exhibit.

 

The Experience

I was very excited for the POP Austin show this year since I had an incredible experience last year. I expected to dive into a glow-in-the-dark world of mystery and illusion. However, I was disappointed to learn that the interactive light installations were only displayed on Saturday night at the THINKPOP Event. The elite soiree was only open to Grand Patron Pass holders for $400 each. This year, the general exhibit included primarily paintings and only a few light installations. Alas, I was looking forward to experiencing a NONOTAK creation.

I entered Fair Market and felt like I was walking into a hip museum, not the space-age inter-dimensional haven I was hoping for. The white outer walls were lined with colorful pop art and the central lounge area was dark like a nightclub. Jason Archer skulls framed the bar and the information desk was tucked back in a corner.

There was no music playing and no flashy lights dancing. While the exhibit was interesting, none of the pieces triggered an overwhelming emotional response like those from last year.

(Additional programming this year included an exclusive Collector Preview, a screening of Wall Writers and the THINKPOP event. I only attended the main exhibit for the public.)

 

The Art

Lisa Schulte

Continuation of a Dream

I was pleased to see a few light installations from the talented American sculptor, Lisa Schulte. Her Continuation of a Dream piece was an eery and mesmorizing glowing knot of snakes. Untitled Wood Series #1 seemed to merge both time and space with a branch and neon lights. The acrylic boxes of Rotating Emotions were playful and paired well with the rest of the pop art. I enjoyed Lisa’s work the most.

 

Fidia Falaschetti Mickey Mouse

Freaky Mouse

One the most entertaining pieces was the Italian artist, Fidia Falaschetti’s pink Freaky Mouse. From far away, it looks like an homage to the classic Disney character. However after closer inspection, the face and butt are switched and so are the feet and hands. What seemed like innocent admiration, turned into a pop culture slap in the face. Then there’s the blue Donald Fuck. I think it speaks for itself.

 

Cleon Peterson and Ugo Nonis

Mad Man

The exhibit featured more than just snarky pop culture references. It wasn’t all fun and games with French artist Ugo Nonis’ Mad Man. The geometric shapes give a pop feel, but the drab colors make the piece seem lonely and dismal. The striking images by Cleon Peterson depicted what seems to be caveman brutality. These were some of the more evocative pieces at the show.

 

 

The Verdict

While the exhibit wasn’t what I expected, POP Austin showcased some interesting and unique contemporary art. The environment wasn’t nearly as compelling or transcendent as last year, but the venue was modern and funky. While the experience wasn’t as engaging, it was still an excellent opportunity to appreciate creativity expression.

If you’re a fan of pop art, you should definitely attend next year’s show. If you’re a fan of interactive installations, make sure to read the fine print.

 

 

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