Detroit Institute of Arts Pop Art Exhibit Reflects Turbulent ‘60s, ‘70s

“Crying Girl,” a 1963 offset lithograph by American artist Roy Lichtenstein, is part of a DIA exhibition of pop art from the 1960s and 1970s. // Photograph Courtesy of DIA

“From Camelot to Kent State: Pop Art, 1960–1975,” a new Detroit Institute of Arts exhibition running from Feb. 17–Aug. 25, 2019, will examine the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, and provide insight into the times for those born later.

The exhibit embraces the generation of artists known as pop artists who reacted to consumerism and popular mass media, and took inspiration from advertisements, logos, comic strips, and television using new technologies of the time.

The exhibition highlights many works acquired by the DIA in the 1960s, when the museum and donors were early supporters of the new style. The exhibition is free with museum admission, which is free for Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County residents.

In the early 1960s, many pop artists celebrated American modern culture, echoing the optimism under the young President John F. Kennedy whose brief presidency was likened to “Camelot” after his assassination in 1963. By the early-to-mid-‘70s, criticism of the Vietnam War and tragedies such as the shooting at Kent State University filled the airwaves.

“The DIA owns a beautiful and delicate collection of pop artworks on paper that we rarely show, because of their sensitivity to light exposure,” says Salvador Salort-Pons, director of the DIA. “It is, therefore, a unique of opportunity to see images that connect with a time in American history and culture that continues to be relevant and it is very familiar to our audiences today.”

The exhibition includes 73 objects and includes lithographic prints with etchings, mixed media and 3-D works primarily from the DIA’s collection. Artists in this exhibition include Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, along with lesser-known artists such as Sister Mary Corita and May Stevens.

Highlights include:

  • “Crying Girl,” 1963, by American Roy Lichtenstein.
  • “Jacqueline Kennedy II,” 1966, by American Andy Warhol.
  • “F-111 (South, West, North, East),” 1974, by American James Rosenquist.

The DIA is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents and DIA members. For all others, $14 for adults, $9 for seniors ages 62+, $8 for college students, $6 for ages 6–17.