Big bang: ‘International Pop’ exhibit at Philadelphia Museum of Art

What do the Cold War, mass consumerism, celebrity, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Brillo soap boxes have in common? All of them were subjects for artists working in a decidedly different time, a time of Pop Art.

Pop subjects came from many sources, everything from comic books, street signs and advertisements to film and television — often charged with a subversive political meaning.

The names of Pop artists in the United States are well known — Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Indiana and Roy Lichtenstein, to name a few. But the whole world was being inspired by the same things. Pop Art was a worldwide phenomenon.

“International Pop,” on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 15, makes just that point. It turns out it wasn’t only American artists who were interested in the mass-produced, the disposable, and the widely popular.

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