Best Pop Art To Buy Right Now

Smith Partner
09 Oct 2020

With the colder weather looming, S&P is injecting some colour into the mix by highlighting the vivid works displayed in our gallery. We currently have an exciting catalogue of pop artists displayed on the basement level of our gallery featuring Kevin T Kelly and Deborah Azzopardi.

Pop art

Initially emerging in Britain in the mid-1950s, pop art reached it’s peak in the early 60s. The movement was described as ‘a revolt against the dominant approaches to art and culture and traditional views on what art should be’, with the rejection of the conventional artistic approach. The movement was designed to push art boundaries to create distinct works of art that touched on social issues prevalent at the time.

With its controversial and humorous references, this newfound style characterised a sense of optimism during the post-war consumer boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Coinciding with the globalisation of pop music and youth culture, the movement grew rapidly in the art world, heavily influencing the advertising culture and interior styles.

 

Kevin T. Kelly

“Roy Lichtenstein meets Dennis Hopper on Steroids.”

Kevin T. Kelly graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati with a B.F.A. in Sculpture. He later moved to New York City, where he worked as a studio assistant to Tom Wesselmann for six years.

Kelly’s work is decidedly “Neo-Pop” or “Post-Pop”. Infused with a postmodern sensibility, contemporaneous subject matter, and executed in what the artist refers to as a “hyperchromatic” palette, the paintings are not only redolent of contemporary issues and politics but excel as studies in formal definition, composition and colour. 

Allowing for open-ended lines of query and interpretation without the burdensome weight of didactic pretence, Kelly chooses to establish a dialogue with the viewer vis-à-vis the painted image rather than wag his finger sanctimoniously from an ivory tower like so much “Activist Art” does today. His work has been described as: “Roy Lichtenstein meets Dennis Hopper on Steroids.” It’s a wry, complex admixture of sardonic social commentary, the six o’clock news.

Number of works in gallery collection: 2

Nocturne


“Nocturne” is at first glance, a couple innocently engaged in amorous activity reminiscent of Romance Comics from the 1950s and ’60s. The yellow triangle and purple stripe at the top of the image subtly indicates a window shade and suddenly the viewer is thrust into the role of voyeur. The image speaks to an era of the ubiquitous cell phone camera and ever-increasing mass surveillance, where information is power and blackmail is currency.

 

Dive Bomber

“Dive Bomber” was commissioned as a painting for the Swiss watch manufacturer, Breitling for their flagship store on 57th Street in New York City. The image depicts an RAF Supermarine Spitfire in a steep nosedive with a woman’s legs and feet pointed in the air. The cheeky double entendre title playfully hints at sexual innuendo in a humorous manner. 

 

Deborah Azzopardi

The London based artist Deborah Azzopardi emerged from a background in commercial art, where her clients included household names such as Bovril, Bisto, and Disney. Azzopardi notes it was enjoyable but demanding work, and after progressing further into her career decided to concentrate on painting subjects that really meant something to her, reasoning that ‘life is short, and if you do what you love then everything else will eventually fall into place’. 

She has exhibited successfully throughout the United Kingdom over the last few years. Azzopardi’s energetic take on the wonders and joy of such passions allow for a genuinely enjoyable experience of the works. Bright and bold colours paired with smirks and suggestive body language. The works are full of life and allow us as viewers to share the happiness that pours out of the pieces.

Number of works in gallery Collection: 6

Fruity

This painting was inspired by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, shown by the international art gallery Perrotin at Art Basel in Miami in 2019 where it was sold for US$120,000. It was duct-taped to the wall and the owner of the gallery stated that `bananas are a symbol of global trade, a double-entendre as well as a classic device for humour`. By the Saturday, New York-based performance artist David Datuna ate the banana in-front of a convention centre full of art lovers and the gallery stated that whilst the banana was indeed consumed, it didn’t diminish the integrity of the six-figure artwork which was not destroyed, as the banana is simply the idea. Deborah Azzopardi who exhibited in Miami was inspired to have the idea of producing an original work of art with a Limited Edition of only 120 copies.

 

Will you be mine?

This artwork was intended to picture just a moment in time. It could be a marriage proposal or a moment of closeness and trust in a simple gesture. There’s a certain exchange of energy, a strong connection between two people. Intimate, flirty, yet reassuring. The ‘ring finger’ is not the same in all countries and cultures. In many Western countries, It is believed that the tradition of a ring on the fourth finger on the left hand originated because this finger has a vein that runs directly to the heart. A sign of wanting to be close to you and with you. Protective and affectionate.

 

To find out more about these works, or to view the rest of the collection in person, visit our gallery located at 58 Gloucester Road, South Kensington.

 Our opening hours are Tues-Fri 10am-7pm & Sat-Sun 10am-5pm.

If you would like to book an appointment ahead of time or outside of these hours, please contact us via gallery@smithandpartner.co.uk or call on 02038271388.

 

 

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