PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Museum of Art closes out the fall semester with “Books and Pages: Ron Kitaj and Eduardo Paolozzi,” presenting two sets of Pop Art prints from the museum’s permanent collection.
Kitaj and Paolozzi were significant figures in the British Pop Art Movement of the 1960s. The two-week exhibition opens Dec. 7 and runs through Dec. 18.
Kitaj is an American who, after spending time in the military and the merchant marine, attended art school in England, where his use of images from popular culture played a major role in the development of Pop Art. His “In Our Time — Covers from a Small Library After Life for the Most Part” is a set of 50 screen prints based on book covers. Although Kitaj has denied his own substantial contribution to Pop Art and later abandoned his screen print work in favor of painting, the 1969 portfolio is regarded today as a masterpiece of the screen print medium.
“The works are reflective and personally revealing,” said Alan Shipman, coordinator of exhibitions and collections for the museum. “That, and the apt selection of books and the exquisite straightforwardness of their reproduction, gives a dimension to Pop Art beyond what we usually expect from it.”
Paolozzi was born in Scotland to Italian immigrant parents. As a child he developed a taste for American movies and pulp magazines; this affinity for mass culture became in adulthood a basis for his art. His “Moonstrips Empire News” is a 100-page unbound book of screen prints from 1967. In this and other works, Paolozzi was one of the first artists to use a computer as an artist’s tool.
He combined images and text from a variety of sources to create these loose pages that are printed on different materials, including plastic. The pages are presented in a plastic box and can be read in any order, interacting not only with each other, but with the entire media world and pop culture they reference.
“Moonstrips, in the lexicon of the 1960s, functions as a data bank of infinite possibilities,” says Shipman. “It is a profound foreshadowing of things to come in the 1990s in the form of the Internet and the World Wide Web.”
Funding for “Books and Pages” and all other museum exhibitions and programs is provided by WSU and the Friends of the Museum of Art. A portion of the museum’s general operating funds for this fiscal year has been provided through a grant from the Institute of Museum Services, a federal agency that offers general support to the nation’s museums.
The exhibition will open at 10 a.m. on Dec. 7. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday, and 1-5 p.m. on weekends. The museum will be closed for the semester break, Dec. 19-Jan. 10. All Museum of Art exhibitions and programs are open to the public without charge.
The museum’s spring semester schedule begins Jan. 11 with “Collaborations: William Allan, Robert Hudson, William Wiley.” The exhibition opens at 7:30 p.m. with a lecture by the Museum of Art’s new director, Dyana Curreri-Ermatinger, in the Fine Arts Auditorium. A reception, hosted by the Friends of the Museum of Art, follows in the Fine Arts Center Lobby.