David Joselit at Artforum:
POP “WAS THE BIRTH OF THE NOW”: So claim curators Darsie Alexander and Bartholomew Ryan in the catalogue for their sprawling and ambitious show “International Pop” at the Walker Art Center, thus positioning the movement as a progenitor of our so-called post-Internet condition. Indeed, the curators write, Pop artists “were modeling behaviors that then seemed radical, but now are second nature: the image world as an extension of the self, the individual curating information via status feed, the rise of social media that is one of the most profound changes of our time.”
What is striking about this genealogy of the present is that Alexander and Ryan keep a self-conscious distance, in their account of historical Pop art, from the term global—a word that also arguably describes “one of the most profound changes of our time.” They make a subtle distinction between a previous model of the world and that of the present, claiming that the show is “a project about internationalism that could only have been made in today’s global era.” In other words, “International Pop” was an account of the recent past in which individual national art histories (such as those of the United States, England, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Hungary, and Italy) were set alongside transnational aesthetic or formal dynamics that indicated an emerging “global style”: The mobility of pictures, for instance, was addressed in a section called “The Image Travels,” while in “Distribution & Domesticity” we saw artworks that confront the postwar explosion of commodities in everyday life. The exhibition thus tracked the nation-state giving way to multinational networks, markets, and cultures—to globalization—as a framework for understanding and encountering world art.