Women pop artists ripe for rediscovery, says UWE art historian

Issue date: 08 May 2014

Cover of Pauline Boty: Pop Artist and Woman (2013)

Art historian Dr Sue Tate is taking part in Pop Go the Women: The Other Story of Pop Art - A Culture Show Special to be broadcast on Saturday 10 May, 8.30pm on BBC2.

Sue is a visiting research fellow at UWE Bristol's Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education. She is a leading expert on British Pop artist Pauline Boty, whose work is featured in the programme.

She says, “Although women did make names for themselves as pop artists at the time, they have since been written out of the story so that pop has been seen as a male preserve. I was involved in the original planning for the show, discussing ideas with Alistair Sooke, the presenter, and Jude Ho the director. This programme seeks to bring the women back to cultural visibility.”

Sue has been researching Pauline Boty for some years. She has curated an important travelling exhibition, currently in Poland, and published the first in-depth study of her life and work - Pauline Boty: Pop Artist and Woman (2013).

Boty attended the Royal College of Art, in the year above David Hockney, and exhibited alongside Peter Blake in the 'first ever' pop art exhibition in 1961. She used vivid colours and collage to make large, loud images, and appeared in the Ken Russell's 1962 TV film Pop Goes the Easel, which followed four young pop artists around London.

Sue was filmed with Boty's paintings and collages when the exhibition was at Wolverhampton art gallery in the autumn. In the programme she will show how Boty's vibrant work used the visual language of pop to speak of a female experience of mass culture – celebrating the pleasures, including sexual pleasure, and critiquing the problems of the representation of women in the media.

Other women pop artists featured in the programme include Marisol, Rosalyn Drexler, Idelle Weber, Letty Lou Eisenhauer and Jann Haworth.

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