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How does pop art translate across cultures? What does pop art look like through a post-colonial lens? This collection, co-published by Iniva and The MIT Press, casts new light on the aesthetics and politics of pop by bringing cross-cultural perspectives to focus on the shifting boundaries of ‘high’ and ‘low’ across different national and international contexts.

Artists have long challenged the discourse of officialdom by turning to dissident elements in vernacular cultures. Exploring practices that range from the recycling of consumerist leftovers in Chicano rasquachismo to the painterly pastiche of Hindu ‘photo-gods’, innovative studies reveal how unexpected antagonisms in the social life of images have also questioned the categories of ‘folk’, ‘nation’ and ‘people’ in the visual culture of modernity. When Mao goes pop, should we view the results as avant-garde, anti-modern or post-modern? Who ‘owns’ popular culture in South Africa or Brazil? Why is hybridity so closely associated with the carnivalesque and the grotesque?

Taking a fresh look at global transitions from modernism to post-modernism, the critical revision put forward in Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures radically expands our understanding of the late 20th-century period from which our working definitions of contemporary art are drawn.

Annotating Art’s Histories series
Featuring internationally renowned scholars and curators at the critical edge of current research in art history, visual culture, and the humanities, Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures is the third volume in the Annotating Art’s Histories series. Newly-comissioned writings are presented alongside bibliographies, translations, and selected reprints of key texts. Building up a richer understanding of cultural difference as a dynamic feature of 20th-century art, this acclaimed series is essential reading for students, practitioners, and anyone curious about cross-cultural interaction in the visual arts.

The Annotating Art’s Histories series is supported by The Getty Foundation.

Other books in the series
Cosmopolitan Modernisms
Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures
Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers

What people say

'Read any single one of these essays and you are given meaningful insight into the political landscape of contemporary art. Each essay takes up Pop as a site of contestation - this is what makes the volume so interesting and informative' Jennifer Doyle, Frieze, March 2008 fiasco
'What is good about this collection of essays is that it makes the discourse around Pop Art feel urgent and contemporary, and it does so not by suggesting something predictable about art and the so-called culture industry. Rather, you get a sense of practices situated historically and geographically ... which engage in complex ways with various contemporary pressures' Alison Green, Art Monthly, July-August 2008 fiasco


ISBN: 978-1-899846-44-3
Softback with flaps
235 x 180mm, 34 colour illustrations
Co-published by Iniva and The MIT Press, 2007

Essays by: Holly Barnet-Sanchez, Gavin Butt, Geeta Kapur, Martina Koppel-Yang, Kobena Mercer, Colin Richards, Sonia Salzstein, Tomas Ybarra-Frausto

Artists include: Shirley Clarke, Robert Colescott, Antonio Dias, Wang Guangyi, David Hammons, Bhupen Khakhar, David Koloane, Esther Mahlangu, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Shen Raoyi, Betye Saar, Teddy Sandoval, Wu Shanzhuan, Durant Sihlali, Larry Yanez

Book design: Untitled