When compiling our weekly Design Finds, we came across the current exhibition at the British Museum. The American Dream: pop to the present features work from Andy Warhol to Robert Rauschenberg, and traces the superpower’s last 60 years – as seen through the eyes of its most lauded artists.
The past six decades have been among the most dynamic and turbulent in US history: from JFK’s assassination, Apollo 11 and Vietnam to the AIDS crisis, racism and gender politics. Responding to the changing times, American artists have produced prints unprecedented in their scale and ambition. Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition includes works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, moving through to the more recent Ed Ruscha, Kara Walker and Julie Mehretu – all of whom boldly experimented with printmaking.
Taking inspiration from the world around them – billboard advertising, global politics, Hollywood and household objects – American artists created highly original prints to rival their paintings and sculptures, while bringing their work to a much wider and more diverse audience. The inventiveness and technical ingenuity of their prints reflect America’s power and influence during this period. Many of these works also address the deep divisions in society that continue to resonate today.
This exhibition presents the Museum’s impressive collection of modern and contemporary American prints for the first time, shown with important works from museums and private collections around the world. It is, without doubt, an exhibition not to miss.
Photographs Courtesy of the British Museum