Amelia’s Magazine | Putting the Pop in Life – Tate Modern


© Takeshi Katami photography from Kanye West website

Pop Life: Art in a Material World proves that good business is the best art. Spanning across 17 rooms, page Pop Life celebrates artists renowned for challenging the media and public with their extravagant, provocative and controversial attitudes towards their craft; often praised but when criticised, they are shown no mercy. Tracy Emin and Damien Hirst love / hate affair with the media and public are perfect examples, both of whom are featured in Pop life.


© Photo: Rod Tidnam, Tate Michael Jackson on the front cover of Interview Magazine in October 1982.

As soon as you enter the exhibition you are greeted by the now legendary sight of a Jeff Koons’ stainless steal Bunny, a sculpture more impressive in person than on TV or in a magazine. Jeff Koons has a whole room to himself entitled ‘Made in Heaven’, which can only be described as an ‘orgy of erotic portraits’, featuring his then wife, former porn star and politician La Cicciolina and Koons himself. It is worth a look- as the centerpiece it is quite a remarkable piece of craftsmanship (I won’t ruin it for you).

Pop5© Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin – The Shop

Young British Artists (YBA) alumni are represented well with Tracy Emin; the signature careless, warrior like attitude of her work are featured as well as the inexhaustible and controversial Damien Hirst, both keeping true to their reputations. Hirst keeps things interesting with his live installation featuring identical twins (if you are a set of identical twins the Tate are looking for people to participate in this installation). Both Emin and Hirst sit side by side like brother and sister representing British art proudly.

Pop6 copy© Damien Hirst’s Aurothioglucose 2008

Amongst the wonders on display is Japan’s own Warhol in the shape of Takashi Murakami who is showcasing his collaborations with artists such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams as well as the fashion house Louis Vuitton. Murakami also collaborates with director McG for a Pop Life exclusive video installation featuring Hollywood starlet Kristen Dunst that delves into Japan’s obsession – Manga. It is an attention-grabbing watch and The Vapours ‘I Think I’m Turning Japanese’ as sung by Dunst will have your head bobbing and singing along. Keith Harrings’ infamous pop up store is in the centre of the exhibition and is worth mentioning; the selection of t-shirts, badges and posters is a good one, the perfect place to stock up on Keith Harring memorabilia.

Pop7Petshop © Estate of Keith Haring. Photo by Charles Dolfi-Michels

Andy Warhol’s words ‘good business is the best art’ fittingly describe what this exhibition is about; the man himself, the man behind the reason why the Hirsts, Emins and Koons grace us with their presence today – is I feel the main focus of the exhibition and deservingly so. He made art sexy and created a new demand in the art world that changed it forever. Warhol changed the definition of Pop Life.


© Anton Perich, 1979, Jerry Hall, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Truman Capote and Paloma Picasso at the tenth anniversary of

Pop Life: Art in a Material World exhibits at the Tate Modern till 17th January. How many more times will you get the chance to experience such influential and celebrated artists of a golden era under one roof? Get to the Tate before the 17th January. Tickets cost £12.50.

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