pop amazons ride bareback art

Women of pop? The expression designated, for a long time, only the women whose European and North American pop art reworked and exalted the images: Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, the tearful lovers of comic books and crowds of nudities in in the bathroom, at the beach or in bed.

Andy Warhol, Martial Raysse, Tom Wesselmann, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Hamilton, Mimmo Rotella, Allen Jones and Gerhard Richter were the main archivists of these female imagery of which film, advertising and, to a lesser extent, ancient art were the main sources. Through screen printing, installation, painting, or in any other way, they assembled an abundant collection of commercial and erotic stereotypes that spread from the late 1950s and prevail in the following decade.

There is however another meaning of “pop women”: the women artists who have participated in this international movement. This is the one defended, in Nice, by the exhibition designed by Hélène Guenin and Géraldine Gourbe, which is exclusively dedicated to them. It is called “The Amazons of Pop”. Spectacular title. The title is somewhat ambiguous: the figure of the Amazon is frequently recycled in film, comics and advertising. You just have to replace the tunic with a tight-fitting jersey, the horse with a motorcycle, the bow and arrows with some laser weapon, Greece with outer space, and new Amazons appear.

They are called Barbarella – film by Roger Vadim from 1968 -, Jodelle or Pravda the oversteer, Guy Peellaert’s albums from 1967 and 1968. They have the face and, above all, the body of Brigitte Bardot or Jane Fonda. Extracts of films and songs recall him in the first rooms of the course: Comic Strip, performed by Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg in 1967, The lollipops, by France Gall (1966), the makeup lessons of Marie Laforêt… The presence of these period documents is obviously necessary, but it would have been undoubtedly prudent to present them as a preamble and not to insert them among the works, in order to to avoid any ambiguity.

Innuendo and triviality

Women pop artists use these imagery to make their innuendo and triviality manifest. This was obviously an aggravating circumstance for them in the 1960s, because, apart from Niki de Saint Phalle and Martha Rosler, they were not shown very often, and it is to be feared that their names were not although insufficiently known.

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