Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Past Exhibitions

< >
Kiss V

Kiss V, 1964, Roy Lichtenstein, American, 1923-1997, magna on canvas, 36 × 36 in., Collection Simonyi, © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, Photo: Eduardo Calderon.

Pop Departures

Oct 9 2014 – Jan 11 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

In the 1960s, art for the first time embraced the brash world of commercial culture, advertising, and mass media—images of shiny newness, youth, and seduction. Pop art electrified artists, audiences, and critics alike. It changed our understanding of art, and the ripple effects of its seismic shift are still felt today. Pop Departures presents the bold visions of American Pop artists, including the works of icons such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, and Claes Oldenburg.

The exhibition takes us beyond the pioneers of Pop and to the work of subsequent generations of artists for whom Pop art has been an inspiration or a vehicle for critique. See works from the 1980s and ’90s by artists such as Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, and Richard Prince. Continue with work made in the era of digital markets and social media by Margarita Cabrera, Josephine Meckseper, and Ryan Trecartin—contemporary artists who use Pop as a point of departure.

Pop art changed the way we consume media and redefined art as part of our market economy. Pop Departures will blow open your notions of Pop and take you on a journey through the last 50 years of American popular culture.

​THE 1960s​

Facts & Figures​

Marilyn Monroe is found dead in her Los Angeles home on August 5, 1962.​

The World’s Fair is held in Seattle in 1962. A year later, Elvis Presley stars in It Happened At the World’s Fair, which is filmed here.

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated November 22, 1963.​

Woodstock draws more than 450,000 people in 1969.

Television magazine declared the arrival of the “long-awaited color breakthrough” in September 1965. The ratings race was on. The next season, all three networks (NBC, CBS, and ABC) broadcast their entire primetime line-ups in color. By 1968, roughly 25% of all households have a color TV.


Marilyn, 1967, Andy Warhol, American, 1928-1987, screenprint on paper, 36 x 36 in., Seattle Art Museum, Bequest of Kathryn L. Skinner, 2004.119, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo: Paul Macapia.

Mao Tse Tung

Mao Tse Tung, 1972, Andy Warhol, American, 1928-1987, screenprint on Beckett High White paper, 42 1/16 x 42 1/16 in., Seattle Art Museum, Gift of the American Art Foundation, 79.91, © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Once you ‘got’ Pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And ​once you thought Pop, you could never see America the same way again.

Andy Warhol

Baked Potato

Baked Potato, 1966, Claes Oldenburg, American, (born in Sweden), 1929, cast resin, painted with acrylic, Shenango china dish, 4 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 7 in., Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Sidney and Anne Gerber, 86.274.4, © Claes Oldenburg, Photo: Elizabeth Mann.

Ice Bag–Scale B, 1971, Claes Oldenburg, American, (born in Sweden), 1929, programmed kinetic construction in aluminum, steel, nylon, fiberglass, dimensions variable: 48 x 48 x 40 in., Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David E. Skinner, II, 84.224. Video courtesy of Williams College.

Study for Vicki!

Study for Vicki!, 1964, Roy Lichtenstein, American, 1923–1997, oil and magna on paper, 42 x 41 1/2 in., General Acquisition Fund, 75.102.

​THE 1980s

Facts & Figures

In his 1980 presidential campaign speeches, Ronald Reagan presents the economic proposals that ​would later be dubbed Reagonomics—the reduction of government spending, federal income tax, and government regulation.

Madonna releases her hit song “Material Girl” in 1984. It becomes a top-five single. The music video pays tribute to Marilyn Monroe’s 1953 performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

That same year, Apple launches its Macintosh computer.

TV Legs

TV Legs, 1987, Lynn Hershman Leeson, American, b. 1941, gelatin silver photograph, 24 x 20 in., Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Rod Slemmons, 95.79, © Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Image Placeholder 940px

Untitled (Cowboys), 1980, Richard Prince, American, b. 1949, Ektacolor print, 27 × 40 in. (68.6 × 101.6 cm), The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Purchased with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal Agency, and Councilman Joel Wachs, 89.30. © Richard Prince, courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, Photo: William Nettles.

Untitled (Not cruel enough)

Untitled (Not cruel enough), 1997, Barbara Kruger, American, b. 1945, photographic silkscreen on vinyl, 109 × 109 in., The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Gift of Vivian and Hans Buehler, © Barbara Kruger, Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, New York, Photo: Brian Forrest.​

Pink Panther

Pink Panther, 1988, Jeff Koons, American, b. 1955, porcelain on formica base, 41 × 20 1/2 × 19 in., Collection of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gerald S. Elliott Collection, 1995.57, © Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, artwork: © Jeff Koons, Photo: Nathan Keay.

the 2000s​​

Facts & Figures​​​

VH1 chooses “Crazy in Love,” the 2003 meg​a-hit by Beyoncé with Jay-Z, as their #1 song of the decade.

Amazon is founded in Seattle in 1994; Google is founded in 1998; and Facebook is founded in 2004. YouTube launches on February 14, 2005.

Barack Obama is elected president on November 4, 2008.

American Mall

American Mall, 2010, Josephine Meckseper, mixed media, 120 x 282 x 48 in., © Josephine Meckseper, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.

American Mall (detail)

American Mall (detail)

In part inspired by the actions of the Seattle World Trade Organization protests in 1999, the focus on industrial retail aesthetics such as shop windows, shelves, and platforms in my work attempts to capture not only the actual protests but also the moment right before a demonstrator picks up a stone and vandalizes a store window.

Josephine Meckseper

Vocho (Yellow)

Vocho (Yellow), 2004, Margarita Cabrera, Mexican, b. 1973, vinyl, batting, thread, and car parts, 60 x 72 x 156 in., The Anne & William J. Hokin Collection. © Margarita Cabrera, photo courtesy of the artist.​​​​​​​​​​

Image Placeholder 940px

Comma Boat, 2013, Ryan Trecartin, American, b. 1981, three channel HD video; color, sound, 33 minutes, 2 seconds, Courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles, © Ryan Trecartin, Photo courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.

Audio Guide

Pop Departures Photo Booth

Get glamorous (or silly) in our Pop Departures photo booth! You can find it in the Brotman Forum on your way up to the galleries—choose from a variety of camera filters, and pretty soon you’ll be looking like the subject of a Warhol or Lichtenstein yourself.

Pop Departures Catalogue

To learn more about pop art and its departures, pick up a copy of the exhibition catalogue, written by Catharina Manchanda, SAM's Jon and Mary Shirley curator of Modern and contemporary art. Guest essays by: Ken Allan, Anne Ellegood, Elodie Evers, Hal Foster, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Josephine Meckseper, Richard Meyer, Mickalene Thomas, and James Voorhies. (published By the Seattle Art Museum in association with Yale University Press, 2014).


The exhibition is organized by the Seattle Art Museum and is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Special Exhibitions at SAM are made possible by donors to​
​​SAM Fund for Special Exhibitions

Presenting Sponsors

Major Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors
U.S. Bank Foundation

Official Airline Sponsor
Delta Air Lines

Media Sponsors
The Seattle Times​​​​​​​

Promotional Partner
Visit Seattle​​​

​Ge​t Tickets

Tickets are available online or at the Seattle Ar​t Museum.

Get Tickets  Visitor Info​​​​​​

Become A Member

Unlimited free admission, members-only events, and more!

Become a Member​​​​

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM