Art Goes Pop

by Danilo Brunetti

Explore the work of a legendary American pop artist at the PalaExpo’s new exhibit. Tiffany Parks has the details.

This month, Rome’s Palazzo delle Esposizioni kicks off an exhibit of the work of Jim Dine, one of the major players on the American art scene. His radical and innovative work has had a powerful impact on contemporary visual culture, in particular that of 1960s Italy. The large and anthological exhibition has been created in close collaboration with the artist himself, with more than 60 works exhibited, dating from 1959 to 2016, from public and private collections across the United States and Europe.

Born in Cincinnati in 1935, Dine is one of the earliest exponents of the American Pop Art Movement, his works having been included in the 1962 New Paintings of Common Objects exhibit, widely considered the first Pop Art exhibition in America. Along with contemporaries such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Dowd, Edward Ruscha, and Wayne Thiebaud, Dine was part of a movement that shocked the American art world during a time of social unrest, and would go on to fundamentally alter the course of modern art. 

Despite his popularity, Dine is difficult to define by virtue of his desire for independence and his refusal to confine himself within the categories of criticism, art history, or the art market. Throughout his career, he has prioritized the values of autonomy and freedom over the adherence to a particular school. This is demonstrated both by his own personal history and by his works that are deeply influenced by his life experiences—at times defined “uneducated” and “disturbing.”

A significant core of the exhibition is made up of works on loan from the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, paintings that Dine donated to the French institution in 2017. Works on display also come from museums in Venice, Trento, Humlebaek, Denmark, and Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Opens 11 February.