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How Art Made Pop and Pop Became Art

How Art Made Pop and Pop Became Art

by Michael Roberts
How Art Made Pop and Pop Became Art

How Art Made Pop and Pop Became Art

by Michael Roberts


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John Lennon, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, the Who, the Velvet Underground, New Wave, Punk: this new book is a remarkable study examining the intertwined histories of pop musicians and the visual arts. The groups and individuals featured here may still have become successful musicians if they hadn’t studied art, but the kind of musicians that they became, and the kind of music that they became interested in, was significantly affected by their experience at art school. Where once these musicians would have considered themselves entertainers, they now became artists. And hence what they practiced—i.e., popular music—became an art form, not least because they said it was. This remarkable survey encompasses the worldwide history of art-school rock and brings the story right up to date by considering recent trends and the current practices of contemporary artist-musicians.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849761321
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, L.L.C.
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Mike Roberts (also known as front man for the Mike Flowers Pops, a ’90s music-theater collective who brought the world “loungecore”) studied at Chelsea School of Art before becoming a musician. He is now an author and documentary producer.

Table of Contents

Introduction: 'The Art School Dance Goes On Forever' 9

Part 1 1950s and 1960s

1 British Post-War Tomorrows: 1956 and All That 15

John Lennon, rock'n'roll, Richard Hamilton and the Independent Group

2 Clearing out the Attic 19

Art school bohemianism, revivalist and modern jazz, and the emergence of mod culture at the turn of the 1960s

3 Pop Art Pop 29

Pete Townshend and the Who; British pop artists and popular music

4 The Gap Between the Two 36

From New York dada to Fluxus, Warhol and the Velvet Underground

5 Warholmania and the American 'Now' 43

Warhol, anti-Hollywood and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable

6 Hungry Freaks, Daddy 49

Zappa, Beefheart, the Family Dog and West Coast psychedelic visual culture

7 Now and Then: The Ancient as Modern 58

Ray Davies and the Kinks, 1986 and the retreat from modernism

8 Intermedial Overdrive 62

Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd and the synaesthesia of the English underground

9 Technicolour Dreams 71

Psychedelic pop art culture, progressive rock and the avant-garde

10 High Concept 77

Sgt, Pepper's, conceptual art and concept rock in swinging London

11 New Revivalism at 'The End of Art' 101

Life's victory over art and the rock'n'roll revival

Part 2 The Long 1970s

12 Gilbert & George and Ralf und Florian 107

Self-staging, krautrock and a new inter-cultural axis

13 After Warhol 113

The legacy of Warhol's Factory and the Velvet Underground

14 David Bowie: Suburban Superstar 118

Bowie as the embodiment of the suburban art school outsider

15 Glitter, Glam and 'Them' 124

From New York's gay performance art theatre to British glam rock

16 All Styles Served Here: Roxy Music 131

The ultimate art school pop group

17 Transformers 138

The body as a site for transformational fantasy in art and pop music

18 SEX and the Situationists 147

Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood, Jamie Reid and situationism in pre-punk Britain

19 Beat Punks of New York 153

Pattr Smith and New York's 'new symbolist' aesthetes, the arch primitivism of Garageland and avant-pop's assimilation of video art

20 Wreckers of Civilisation 177

Punk, via post-hippie libertarianism and decadent Weimar chic

21 Now Form A Band 186

The punk aesthetic and punk as an integrated, inter-disciplinary art form

22 A New Career in an Old Town 192

New translations of European modernist avant-gardism in post-punk Britain

23 Don't Call It Punk 204

New wave, no wave and neo-expressionism

24 Almost White 214

Art school curatorship of black musical culture reciprocated through hip-hop

Part 3 1980s, 1990s And Ever After

25 Heavy Rotation: MTV and Video Pop 221

Music video, the Second British Invasion, sampling and appropriation

26 Playing the System 226

ZTT, Scritti Politti, slogan art and postmodern commodity culture

27 The New Music Makeover 234

Bruce Springsteen, new wave soul and America's assimilation of art pop

28 No Alternative 238

Alternative rock becomes the mainstream as pop music is academicised

29 Post-Pop Music 266

From the KLF to karaoke as art reasserts its cultural prominence

30 The Art Pop Revival 272

A nostalgic revival of the love affair between art and pop in Britain

31 Pop into Art 280

The museumification of art pop, and sound art's "third way'

32 Last Orders 289

The pop star as iconic exhibit while hip-hop stalks the art world

Select Bibliography 294

Index 297

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