One of the pre-eminent national collections of pop art prints, primarily from the 1960s, will go on show at Chester’s former library building in Northgate Street from July 28–October 22 featuring some of the most famous works from the genre.
The Victoria & Albert Museum’s Pop Art in Print exhibition, presented by Chester Visual Arts and curated by the V&A, brings together, for the first time, an international collection of pop graphics featuring artists Andy Warhol, Patrick Caulfield, Richard Hamilton, Allen Jones, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. The exhibition is free to enter.
It will also explore pop in other media, including printed textiles from the period, wallpapers inspired by pop’s strong graphic character and comic book styling, artists’ books and posters. The exhibition will conclude by taking a look at the legacy of pop in the work of more recent artists and designers.
During the exhibition, Chester Visual Arts plan to outreach to the local community and to schools in the area with a programme of events and interactive workshops engaging as many as possible in their exciting venture.
It is the first major event to be brought to the city by Chester Visual Arts following its creation in 2016. Formed as an independent body of experts from culture and business in Chester to put the city on the map for contemporary arts, it was founded by the directors of art and regeneration business AielloShort and includes representatives from Grosvenor Estate, the University of Chester, Chester Cathedral, the North West Business Leadership Team and private sector arts patrons.
Ian Short, chairman of Chester Visual Arts, said: “To attract this internationally renowned exhibition from the V&A, and to make it happen, is a major coup for us and for the city.
“This is the first of a series of visual arts interventions into underused buildings and other spaces in the city. Our immediate goal is to attract a wide audience for high quality visual arts and build towards the establishment of permanent exhibition and work space in Chester.
“At the same time we will be contributing to the renewed cultural vibrancy brought by the opening of Storyhouse and the Cathedral’s Ark Exhibition.”
Cllr Louise Gittins, deputy leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “We are very excited about this unique pop-up Pop Art in Print installation from the V&A in the building formerly occupied by the library.
“When Cheshire West and Chester were approached by Chester Visual Arts (CVA) to use the building, we looked at the timescale for the development of the first phase of Northgate and agreed we could make the building available without impacting on the delivery timetable.
“I would like to thank CVA for all their hard work to deliver this exciting project. With the Cathedral’s Ark Exhibition and the opening of Storyhouse and Chester Castle, as well, culture in the city is thriving and it will be a great summer of events and activity.”
The University of Chester’s art and design department will be co-ordinating the staging of the V&A exhibition, with Chester Visual Arts also planning a programme of curatorial tours, lectures and educational events in conjunction with the exhibition.